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Omicron Surge Rages On Across The Globe

14/01/2022 03:27 PM

By Melati Mohd Ariff

This is Bernama’s weekly roundup on COVID-19 and related matters in Malaysia and globally from Jan 8 to noon today.

In Malaysia, case numbers have exceeded 2.79 million and globally, the virus has infected more than 320 millionpeople and caused over 5.5 million deaths. Some 264 million patients have so far recovered from the virus. The COVID-19 pandemic, which is now in its second year, has affected 222 countries and territories.

KUALA LUMPUR (Bernama) -- As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second week this year, the number of new daily cases continues to surge, fuelled mainly by the highly contagious Omicron variant.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Wednesday, the Omicron variant is dangerous, especially for those who have not been vaccinated, noting that the "overwhelming majority of people admitted to hospitals are unjabbed."

A vaccination card is given to the recipient after the latter receives his or her third vaccine (booster shot) at the COVID-19 Padang Hiliran vaccination centre in Kuala Terengganu. --fotoBERNAMA (2022) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

"While vaccines remain very effective at preventing death and severe COVID-19 disease, they do not fully prevent transmission," said Tedros at a press conference in Geneva.

"More transmission means more hospitalisations, more deaths, more people off work - including teachers and health workers - and more risk of another variant emerging that is even more deadly than Omicron," he said adding that the number of deaths worldwide had stabilised at around 50,000 per week.

According to WHO, most regions reported an increase in the incidence of weekly cases except for African Region, which reported an 11 per cent decrease.

The Southeast Asian region reported the largest increase in new cases last week (418 per cent), followed by the Western Pacific Region (122 per cent) and the Eastern Mediterranean Region (86 per cent).



School session for the third term 2021/2022 in states under group A (Johor, Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu) started on Jan 9 while those in group B the following day. --fotoBERNAMA (2022) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Jan 11, total cumulative cases infected by the SARS-CoV-2 virus categorised as Variant of Concern (VOC) and Variant of Interest (VOI) stood at 5,760. Of the total detected, 5,740 cases were VOC while 20 cases were VOI.

For VOC, 5,240 cases were Delta variant; 253 Omicron; 233 Beta; and 14 Alpha.

Meanwhile, daily new COVID-19 cases in Malaysia are still within four-digits and yesterday, the MOH reported 3,684 new cases, bringing the cumulative figure to 2,798,917.

Following is the breakdown of new cases for the week under review (Jan 8 - Jan 13): Jan 8 (3,251), Jan 9 (2,888), Jan 10 (2,641), Jan 11 (3,175), Jan 12 (3,198) and Jan 13 (3,684).

With the cumulative figure of 2,798,917 cases, Malaysia now ranked 21st in the list of 222 nations/territories struck by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahead of Malaysia is the Philippines (3,092,409 cases) and the Netherlands (3,465,463 cases).


Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) graduands complying with SOPs as they assemble during their convocation ceremony at Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah cultural and arts centre. --fotoBERNAMA (2022) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Health Director General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said yesterday, of 3,684 new daily cases, only 34 (0.9 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; while 3,650 (99.1 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.

According to MOH, category 5 is for critical cases requiring ventilators; category 4 is for patients needing oxygen assistance and category 3 is for patients with pneumonia. Category 1 is for patients who are asymptomatic and category 2 is for those with mild symptoms.

Total COVID-10 recoveries as of yesterday stood at 3,292 cases, bringing total recovered cases to 2,726,891 (97.4 per cent).

Of 178 COVID-19 patients warded at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) yesterday, 70 cases needed respiratory assistance.

Meanwhile, Malaysia's COVID-19 infectivity rate or Ro/Rt value stays below 1.00 during the week under review: Jan 8 (0.97), Jan 9 (0.98), Jan 10 (0.98), Jan 11 (1.00), Jan 12 (0.99) and Jan 13 (1.0).

As of yesterday, Kuala Lumpur recorded the highest Ro/Rt value (1.08), followed by Sabah (1.07) and Putrajaya (1.05).

The R-Naught or R0/Rt value of a virus indicates the infectivity rate or the number of new infections generated by each case. An R0 value of 0.5 would be needed to flatten this deadly virus’ infection curve. Meanwhile, according to MOH, from Nov 25 to Jan 11, there were 16 clusters, involving umrah returnees from Saudi Arabia.

Of the 16 clusters, seven (7) clusters were index cases confirmed to be Omicron variant, six (6) clusters were index cases listed as presumptive Omicron pending the results of its whole genome sequencing (WGS) and three (3) clusters were index cases that were COVID-19 positive, listed as non-Omicron variant.



Latest Status of COVID-19 in Malaysia. New Cases by States. Source: MOH

Of the total new daily cases of 3,684 reported yesterday, the state-by-state breakdown of new cases (+imported cases) is as follows:

Three-digit new daily cases - Johor 444 (+12), Kedah 177 (+8), Kelantan 277 (+2), Melaka 238 (+7), Negeri Sembilan 130 (+28), Pahang 247 (+6), Perak 141 (+12), Penang 156 (+8), Sabah 255 (+2), Selangor 983 (100) and Kuala Lumpur 186 (+123).

Two-digit new daily cases - Terengganu 71 (+4), Sarawak 18, Putrajaya 17 (+6) and Labuan 16 (+2).

One-digit new daily cases - Perlis 7 (+1).

Meanwhile, total active clusters in Malaysia as of yesterday stood at 178. Overall, 6,192 clusters were detected in the country with 6,014 of them having ended.

According to MOH data, total new clusters during the week stood at 32 and most of the new clusters were linked to the workplace (10, 31.3 per cent) and education (7, 21.9 per cent) followed by community (6, 18.8 per cent).

MOH reported three (3) imported clusters involving umrah returnees from Saudi Arabia during the week, with the breakdown as follows:

Jan 8 - Jalan Dua SAUDI (Machang, Kelantan); Jan 11 - Dah Kampung Pegawai SAUDI (Kota Setar, Kedah) and Jan 13 - Pasdec Perdana SAUDI (Raub, Pahang).


Imported cases:-

WN (Citizens), BWN (Non-Citizens)


Jan 8 - 299 (265 WN, 34 BWN), Jan 9 - 323 (287 WN, 36 BWN), Jan 10 - 338 (273 WN, 65 BWN),

Jan 11 - 272 (224 WN, 48 BWN), Jan 12 - 303 (224 WN, 79 BWN) and Jan 13 - 321 (233 WN, 88 BWN).


Active cases with probable infection:-

A police officer showing fake COVID-19 vaccination certificates issued by a private clinic at a press conference at the Terengganu Contingent Police Headquarters. --fotoBERNAMA (2022) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Jan 8 (39,776), Jan 9 (39,927), Jan 10 (39,742), Jan 11 (39,913), Jan 12 (39,896) and Jan 13 (40,276).


The breakdown of COVID-19 patients based on their respective categories:


According to MOH, category 5 is for critical cases requiring ventilators; category 4 is for patients needing oxygen assistance and category 3 is for patients with pneumonia. Category 1 is for patients who are asymptomatic and category 2 is for those with mild symptoms.


Of 3,251 daily cases reported on Jan 8; 58 (1.8 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5;

and 3,193 (98.2 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.


Of 2,888 daily cases reported on Jan 9;

36 (1.2 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and

2,852 (98.8 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.


Of 2,641 daily cases reported on Jan 10;

57 (2.2 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and

2,584 (97.8 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.


Of 3,175 daily cases reported on Jan 11;

60 (1.9 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and

3,115 (98.1 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.


Of 3,198 daily cases reported on Jan 12;

39 (1.2 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and

3,159 (98.8 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.


Of 3,684 daily cases reported on Jan 13;

34 (0.9 per cent) were categories 3, 4 and 5; and

3,650 (99.1 per cent) were categories 1 and 2.


Total recoveries for the week are as follows:

Jan 8 (3,161), Jan 9 (2,714), Jan 10 (2,808), Jan 11 (2,977), Jan 12 (3,200) and Jan 13 (3,292).

* cumulative recovered cases as of yesterday stood at 2,726,891 (97.4 per cent).


The daily breakdown in fatalities is as follows:

*BID = Brought-in-Dead are cases outside the hospital and those brought to the hospital's forensic department; positive COVID-19 cases after PT PCR tests conducted.


Jan 8 - 11 (BID 2), Jan 9 - 23 (BID 4), Jan 10 - 18 (BID 2), Jan 11 - 27 (BID 9), Jan 12 - 15 (BID 6) and Jan 13 - 12 (BID 0).

*Total fatalities as of yesterday stood at 31,750 cases.


Below is the breakdown of new record clusters:

* imported clusters

Jan 8 - 2 (workplace and imported 1);

* imported - Jalan Dua Saudi cluster (Machang, Kelantan)

Jan 9 - 1 (community 1);

Jan 10 - 4 (workplace 1, religious 1 and high risk 2);

Jan 11 - 9 (workplace 2, community 2, education 2, imported 1 and high risk 2);

* imported - Dah Kampung Pegawai Saudi cluster (Kota Setar, Kedah).

Jan 12 - 8 (workplace 4, community 1, education 2 and high risk 1);

Jan 13 - 8 (workplace 2, community 2, education 3 and imported 1).

* imported - Pasdec Perdana Saudi cluster (Raub, Pahang).



Current Worldwide Statistics on COVID-19 and COVID-19 Case Summary in Malaysia.

According to Worldometer, total COVID-19 cases worldwide stood at 320,885,933 from 303,342,835 previously with 5,538,771 fatalities as against 5,496,531 previous week. Recovered cases stood at 264,018,115 from 258,180,531 previously.

Some 222 countries are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and those in the top 10 of the list are the United States, India, Brazil, United Kingdom, Russia, France, Turkey, Germany, Spain and Iran.


The breakdown of the top 10 nations (+ new record daily cases) is as follows:

United States 64,987,066 (+619,909);

India 36,571,423 (+253,496);

Brazil 22,814,917 (+96,311);

United Kingdom 14,967,817 (+109,133);

France 13,240,304 (+305,322);

Russia 10,723,305 (+21,155);

Turkey 10,271,240 (+75,564);

Italy 8,155,645 (+184,615);

Spain 7,930,528 (+159,161);

Germany 7,805,149 (+93,154).


China, where the outbreak was first reported at end-December 2019, remained at the 116th spot with 104,379 cases and 190 new daily cases.

Besides Malaysia, the Southeast Asian nations namely Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Singapore, Cambodia and Laos, have joined the list of 112 countries with more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases.


The cumulative breakdown of COVID-19 cases (+new daily cases) is as follows:

Indonesia 14th spot - 4,268,890 cases (+793);

Philippines 20th - 3,092,409 cases (+34,021);

Malaysia 21st - 2,798,917 cases (+3,684);

Thailand 26th - 2,300,457 cases (+8,167);

Vietnam 28th - 1,975,444 cases (+16,725);

Myanmar 68th - 532,725 cases (+172);

Singapore 91st - 289,085 cases (+960);

Laos 111th - 122,241 cases (+805);

Cambodia 113th - 120,718 cases (+34);

Brunei 169th - 15,750 cases (+98).



The World Health Organisation (WHO)’s China country office was informed of cases of pneumonia that were detected in Wuhan on Dec 31, 2019. On Jan 7, 2020 the Chinese authorities confirmed that the newly detected novel coronavirus can be transmitted from human to human.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-COV).

A study of the virus’ genetic sequence suggested similarities to that seen in snakes and bats. China health officials identified the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan as the source of the transmission of the coronavirus.

On Feb 11, 2020, WHO announced the official name of the virus, COVID-19, which is an acronym for coronavirus 2019 – CO stands for corona, VI for virus and D for disease.

On Jan 30, 2020, WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak as a global emergency and on March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

WHO has described the COVID-19 outbreak as much more dangerous than the A H1N1 Influenza, also known as Swine Flu.

Swine Flu, which occurred between January 2009 and August 2010, infected more than 1.6 million people and caused 18,449 fatalities. It was first detected in Mexico and later in the United States in March 2009.

COVID-19 was detected in Malaysia on Jan 25, 2020, when three Chinese citizens, who had entered Malaysia through Johore from Singapore on Jan 23, were tested positive for the disease.

New variants of the COVID-19 coronavirus have since emerged in the United Kingdom (identified as B117) in September 2020, South Africa (501Y.V2) in October 2020 and India (B.1.617), also in October 2020.

Cumulatively, Malaysia's COVID-19 cases have breached the one million mark as on July 25, with 1,013,438 cases. The first time daily cases reached the five-digit level was on July 13 with 11,079 cases.

WHO on Nov 26 designated a new variant of COVID-19, named Omicron, a variant of concern. It was first detected in Gauteng Province, South Africa.

Scientists at the IHU have detected a new variant named B.1.640.2 at end-November last year, with 46 mutations on its spike protein and nicknamed it IHU.

Meanwhile, Israel has confirmed its first case of an individual infected with 'Flurona', a term coined to describe the condition of being infected with COVID-19 and the seasonal flu simultaneously. (Jan 2, 2022).


Translated by Salbiah Said




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