Ah Covid, just when I thought you’d fade into non-existence, you pop up again with new variants which I assume scientists used a passcode generator to name, what with all the letters and numbers.
Two new Covid-19 variants called BA.5.2 and BF.7, which were rapidly spreading across China that accounted for 80% of Covid variants found there, is now in Malaysia.
In a report made by the Malay Mail, Health Director-General, Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah stated that as of Dec 31, 4,148 cases of BA.5.2 alongside three cases of BF.7 were detected.
Thankfully, these variants have not been linked to any critical cases or deaths as of right now and Dr. Noor Hisham assured that further developments will be monitored overtime.
Currently, the main Covid-19 variant accounting for the largest percentage of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia is the XBB variant. According to Bernama, Dr. Noor Hisham claims the XBB variant had been spreading across the country since October 2022.
Meanwhile, Malaysia’s Health Minister, Dr. Zaliha Mustafa, has urged the public not to panic over the possible influx of tourists from China as borders reopen for travel while advising for people to get their vaccine booster shots ASAP.
This comes after demands from a number of groups, including medical professionals, for tighter regulations, such as the screening and testing of Chinese visitors.
Additionally, there are requests to temporarily ban travel from China, which is experiencing an increase in Covid-19 cases after abruptly ending its stringent zero-Covid policy last month.
In any case, Dr. Zaliha assured that, “Preventive measures and preparations to face any potential rise in cases will be stepped up.”
Furthermore, she suggested for those who’d surpassed six-months since their first booster shot to get a follow-up dose and pointed out that only 49.8% of Malaysians received their first booster shot while only 1.9% have gotten their second.
She hopes for a rise in the number of booster doses, particularly among high-risk patients, and recommends that people practise TRIIS (trace, report, isolate, inform and seek treatment) while taking better safety precautions overall.
With the anticipation of increased tourists and business travellers arriving from China, the Health Ministry introduced Covid-19 precautions for Chinese visitors by testing them in addition to their aircraft’s wastewater.
Travellers entering from China must comply with the mandatory Covid-19 testing to enter Malaysia which has also been mandated by other countries such as India, Japan, Italy, Taiwan and the US.