Omicron may be more damaging than Delta variant if not properly handled, says Dr Yii

Dr Kelvin Yii

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KUCHING, Jan 7: A full blown Covid-19 Omicron outbreak in Malaysia where it will see a vertical surge of cases like in other countries may be even more damaging than the Delta variant if not properly handled, says Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii said while many reports have said that the severity of the Omicron variant may be milder than that of the Delta variant, its impact on the healthcare system should not be underestimated.

“Due to the high transmissibility of Omicron, we may experience a high surge of patients as healthcare manpower runs low, where many are already suffering from burnout due to the long battle with this pandemic.

“When patient volume increases, inevitably the high-risk portion will require closer medical attention or hospitalisation which will then swamp the healthcare system again.

“When the healthcare capacity cannot accommodate the increase, it will result in sub-optimum care due to lack of manpower or even medical equipment, affecting the prognosis of the patient,” he said in a statement today.

He also said the variant also increases the risk for healthcare workers to be infected.

“That is why we must not let our guard down and must really double down on vaccination campaigns and propping up hospitals as they confront a large influx of patients.

“A ‘booster dose campaign’ must be launched to exponentially increase our booster dose uptake to ensure the most vulnerable are getting the most optimum protection,” he added.

Based on reports from the Ministry of Health (MOH), there are currently 245 Omicron cases detected in Malaysia, with 12 cases of local transmission, and seven cases reported on Jan 6, 2022 in Sarawak alone.

Dr Yii also informed that currently, just 43 per cent of those aged 60 and above or 20 per cent of the total population are boosted against Covid-19 in Malaysia.

Following this, he urged the government to improve their risk communication and allay the concerns of those still hesitant to take the vaccine or even take the booster dose.

He also said the government must improve the rollout of booster doses because those turning up at vaccination centres (PPVs) to receive their dose had to queue up for long hours even under the sun due to lack of manpower and government assistance.

“Currently there are about only 1,500 general practitioners (GPs) involved out of more than 7,000 that are registered. That is why more can be done to incentivise more GPs to be part of the rollout as well as set up more PPVs assisted by the MOH just like how it was done before for the first two doses.

“More must be done by the government to give assurance to the people that they are in control. New variants like Omicron are a reminder that the Covid-19 pandemic is far from over and that is why we must remain vigilant and not become complacent,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily