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KLANG, Jan 16 -- There has been no proven public health approach that one should be infected with the COVID-19 Omicron variant to help build herd immunity, Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said.
He said such an approach has not even been proven valid.
“It doesn’t matter what sort of variant. Omicron, Delta, Alpha and Beta, don’t go voluntarily looking to get infected as firstly, we do not know what are its effects.
“Second, we do not know the effects of ‘Long COVID’. Today, we might say Omicron is milder than Delta and therefore why don’t we all get infected with Omicron to achieve herd immunity and so on. (But) this is not proven. We know Omicron is milder but that doesn’t mean you should (voluntarily) get it,” he said.
Khairy instead advised the people to ensure they get their COVID-19 booster shots.
He was commenting on recent reports, quoting South African virologists, that the Omicron variant can help build herd immunity in societies due to its high transmissibility.
He was speaking to reporters after officiating the launch of the national-level ‘End AIDS Initiative Through the Go-NGO Smart Collaboration Model KK 2.0’ (GO-NGO Model KK 2.0) here today.
He said 99 per cent of those infected with Omicron in the country were in categories one and two.
On the rising number of daily COVID-19 cases, Khairy said the people should not gauge the pandemic situation based on case statistics alone.
He said it should also be assessed by the number of hospital and intensive care unit admissions, which he added were still under control.
Khairy said the Health Ministry (MOH) was also expecting an increase in COVID-19 cases this month and in February as a result of increased public movement during Christmas, the school holidays, New Year, Thaipusam and Chinese New Year.
“MOH expects that in the next one or two months, we will see some increase (in cases) but as long as hospital and ICU admissions are under control and the fatality rate continues to dip, we are in control of the situation,” he said.
He said the situation in Selangor was also still under control, although it remained the state with the highest number of daily cases.
“Among the reasons for this is that the international entry point is located in Selangor and travellers are recorded in this state although they are not necessarily from Selangor,” he said.