Malaysia’s Covid infections hit record high, exceed Delta wave of last year
Covid-19 infections in Malaysia have surged to a record high, surpassing the numbers seen during the Delta wave last year. Yesterday, Malaysia reported 27,831 new cases, the highest since August 2021, when daily infections reached 24,599. Officials say the current spike is being driven by the highly-contagious Omicron variant, as is the case in many other Asian countries.
According to a Bloomberg report, Vietnam reported a record high in new infection numbers on Tuesday. Singapore and Indonesia are also battling record highs, while new cases in Thailand reached a 5-month high last week.
Noor Hisham Abdullah, Malaysia’s Health-Director General, has previously predicted that infections would reach 22,000 by the end of March. Yesterday, he took to Twitter, urging citizens who have not yet done so to get a booster vaccine dose.
“We need to brave this Omicron storm together. Many countries in our region are seeing an upward trend.”
The good news is that hospital bed occupancy in Malaysia remains at a manageable level, with health officials crediting the country’s high vaccination rollout. Around 80% of the population is fully vaccinated and over 50% have received booster doses. Bloomberg reports that the number of patients becoming severely ill of being hospitalised with Covid-19 is significantly lower than last year.
During 2021’s Delta wave, the combination of lower vaccination rates coupled with a more dangerous variant, nearly brought Malaysia’s healthcare system to its knees. By contrast, Noor says nearly 99% of current patients are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms.
“We have prepared for herd immunity following our high vaccine coverage and natural immunity from those recovered from Covid. Hopefully the Omicron storm will pass soon and we move to endemicity.”
Yesterday, there were 1,269 patients admitted to hospital in Malaysia. Of those, only 428 were category 3, 4 or 5 patients, meaning they had more serious symptoms and required oxygen support.
Malaysia’s Health Ministry has stated that it expects the Omicron wave to peak in the second half of March.
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