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Omicron variant: Transition to endemic phase temporarily paused – Hishammuddin

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — Efforts to transition to the endemic phase has been paused for a while as the government looks to find out more about the new COVID-19 variant – Omicron – which is said to be more contagious than the Delta variant.

Senior Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said the government had noted that as of now, the variant had not only spread in South Africa, but also to several other countries including Italy, Denmark, Australia, United Kingdom, Belgium and Hong Kong.

“Although we have not heard of any cases in our country to date, precautionary actions will continue to be implemented.

“We are concerned that everything that we had planned before this, the announcements on the relaxation of SOPs (standard operating procedures), the seven criteria that we hoped to announce in the near future on the endemic phase, all this may be affected if we do not monitor the spread of Omicron more closely,” he said at a press conference after the COVID-19 Ministerial Quartet Meeting at the Parliament building here today.

The government had previously set seven criteria that needed to be achieved before the Ministry of Health (MOH) could declare Malaysia as entering the endemic phase of living with the COVID-19 virus.