KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — There is no need to panic as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country is still under control, says Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa.

She said the number of deaths due to COVID-19 was also still low, mostly involving the elderly and individuals with comorbidities.

According to Dr Zaliha, although the transmission rate of the latest Omicron sub-variants is faster than the previous ones, it is still under control with no severe symptoms.

“The sub-variants that we (MoH) have identified are XBB 1.5, XBB 1.16 and XBB 1.9.1 and it is still the Omicron type,” she said in a press conference after attending the town hall session on the Health White Paper here, today.

Dr Zaliha meanwhile advised the public to wear face masks if they experienced any symptoms.

“We also encourage individuals with symptoms to do a screening test for COVID-19 as well as wear a face mask, especially during the festive period when meeting with family and so on. If you have symptoms, avoid spreading the virus to the rest of the family,” she said.

Meanwhile, in another development, she said 4,264 Contract Medical Officers had been appointed to permanent positions as of yesterday.

“I received various positive feedback, some thanked the Ministry of Health for helping the doctors involved and God willing, we will see other schemes (as well after this),” she said.

On April 4, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced that 12,800 of the 20,330 contract doctors would be absorbed into permanent positions within three years, involving an additional allocation of RM1.7 billion.

Earlier, Dr Zaliha also launched the Health White Paper website for the public to obtain related information as well as give suggestions or views on the initiative.

She said the report would be presented in Parliament this June.


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