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Omicron: Senior citizens, individuals with comorbidities advised not to travel abroad - Khairy

PUTRAJAYA, Dec 1 -- Senior citizens and individuals with comorbidities are advised not to travel abroad at this time, besides avoiding crowded public areas, following the recent discovery of the Omicron variant of COVDI-19.

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin also advised Malaysians wishing to go abroad to always adhere to COVID-19 safety practices, especially when heading to countries that had not yet reported any instances of the variant, as well as countries listed as high risk.

''In Europe, for example, it (COVID-19 standard operating procedures) is getting quite relaxed, Malaysians who wish to go to foreign destinations are advised to continue to adhere to the Ministry of Health's (MOH) advice, even if they are abroad,'' he said during a press conference on the development of COVID-19 here today.

He also reminded everyone in the country to increase preventive measures and always practice TRIIS, which stands for 'Test, Report, Inform, Isolate and Seek'.

Touching on the progress of administering the booster dose, Khairy said it was now picking up pace.

However, Khairy said it was found that some senior citizens who had received the Sinovac vaccine previously, did not attend their appointments for the booster dose.

''Hopefully, they will be able to receive the booster dose soon, especially with the latest development with regard to the Omicron variant,'' he said.

Based on data from the Ministry of Health (MOH) through the COVIDNOW website, the cumulative number of booster doses administered so far is 2,457,510.

Khairy said the MOH was also in the process of finalising a 'heightened alert' system, which was able to detect early signs of increasing COVID-19 cases in the country, besides updating the National COVID-19 Testing Strategy from time to time.

When asked on the Institute of Medical Research’s (IMR) findings on the newly discovered variant, Khairy said the Institute will continue to receive data on the genomic sequence from other countries on the variant.

“So, with the genomic sequence, we were able to quickly detect Omicron via the Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test, allowing us to deliver a better diagnosis,” he added.