KUALA LUMPUR: Following the first case of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant reported in the country, citizens in two states have been urged to remain vigilant and increase compliance with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to avoid being infected.
In PENANG, the state government is asking 503,000 frontline workers, senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities to immediately get booster shots at all Vaccination Centres (PPV) in the state.
State Agrotechnology and Food Safety, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Norlela Ariffin said although the state had achieved an adult vaccination rate of 101.3 per cent, the spread of Omicron should not be taken lightly by the people.
“People should continue to maintain SOPs and take booster shots to increase personal protection to curb COVID-19 category three, four and five cases that require treatment in hospitals and Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
“As of yesterday, 108,420 Penang residents received booster shots and it is very encouraging. But we are still among the bottom six states and among the main factors is that 40 to 50 per cent of those who get booster shots appointments do not show up or decline,“ she said in a statement today.
In PERAK, state Health, Science, Environment and Green Technology Committee chairman Mohd Akmal Kamarudin asked the people of the state to always practise self-care and avoid being in crowded places.
“Avoid crowded places, always wear a face mask and wash your hands often as a precaution,“ he said when contacted by Bernama.
In KEDAH, an additional COVID-19 detection test for travellers arriving in Langkawi via the Langkawi International Tourism Travel Bubble will ensure that the resort island is free of the Omicron variant.
The Langkawi Development Authority (LADA) in a statement today said the additional detection test was conducted on the third and fifth day from the date of arrival for travellers arriving from high-risk countries.
“LADA welcomes the additional steps taken by the Ministry of Health to screen tourists entering Langkawi under the Langkawi International Tourism Travel Bubble programme.
“Tourists have to undergo the RTK-Ag test on the third and fifth day while in Langkawi. This will ensure Langkawi is free from COVID-19 and the Omicron variant,“ it said.
Meanwhile, state Health and Local Government Committee chairman Datuk Dr Mohd Hayati Othman said the Kedah government was ready to accept foreign tourists visiting Langkawi under the Langkawi International Tourism Travel Bubble.
“I understand that a direct flight from Singapore has arrived in Langkawi today. These tourists have undergone the COVID-19 screening test before leaving for Langkawi. We will also hold an RT saliva test if the tourists who arrive have symptoms,“ he said.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin at a press conference on the latest developments of COVID-19 today informed that Malaysia had recorded the first positive case of COVID-19 Omicron variant involving a student who visited South Africa, studying at a private university in Ipoh, Perak.
Earlier, Khairy said tourists from countries who reported infection of Omicron variant or were at high risk of infection were not allowed to participate in the Langkawi International Tourism Travel Bubble programme.
These countries are South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe, and also not allowed are tourists who have a history of travel to those countries within 14 days. - Bernama