Endemic phase ‘on hold’ because of Omicron

01-Dec-2021 Intellasia | FreeMalaysiaToday | 5:02 AM Print This Post

The government will put its plans to move into the endemic phase of Covid-19 on hold because of the newly identified Omicron variant.

“For the time being, the ministerial Quartet has decided to temporarily pause our efforts to move into the ‘endemic transition’ phase until we find out more about Omicron,” said defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein after chairing a meeting of the quartet today.

The World Health Organization yesterday warned that the Omicron variant poses a “very high” risk globally, while earlier today, health minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the variant, which was first detected in South Africa last Wednesday, is “probably more transmissible” than the Delta variant.

Hishammuddin said the government has noted that Omicron has not only been detected in South Africa but has also spread to the UK, Hong Kong, Australia, Italy, Belgium and Denmark.

Apart from the ban on travel to South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, which came into effect last week, he said the government will now look to impose tighter international border controls on countries that have reported the Omicron cases.

He said the health ministry, which is seeking more detailed information on Omicron’s incubation period, symptoms and transmissibility, will announce further details about the travel restrictions in due course.

In the meantime, the SOPs currently in place for states in Phases 3 and 4 of the national recovery plan will remain.

Earlier this month, Hishammuddin had said the transition to the endemic phase would be done simultaneously across the country and based on international criteria, including those set by WHO.

He also said the transition to the endemic phase was the government’s next step as all the states, except Sarawak and Kelantan, were already in Phase 4 of the recovery plan.



Category: Malaysia

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