No more quarantine for close contacts with booster

The govt has set a date to reopen the borders, which will be announced by PM soon, Khairy says 

by ASILA JALIL / Pic by BERNAMA

ASYMPTOMATIC close contacts of Covid-19 patients who have received their booster jab will no longer have to observe home surveillance order (HSO) effective March 1. 

Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin Abu Bakar (picture) said close contacts would need to conduct self tests on the first and third day since the last day they were exposed to the index case. 

If their results are positive, they would need to file a report on the MySejahtera application and undergo self isolation. 

“After much consideration based on scientific data and existing information, the Ministry of Health (MoH) would like to announce that close contacts who have received their booster shots and are asymptomatic would not need to undergo home quarantine. Symptomatic close contacts would need to be quarantined for five days and other procedures remain the same,” he said at a press conference yesterday. 

The previous MoH guidelines stated close contacts who have completed both Covid-19 doses and booster shots to undergo quarantine for five days. 

Those who are fully vaccinated but have not received booster shots must quarantine for seven days and unvaccinated individuals are required to quarantine for 10 days. 

Khairy said the government will restart operations of the Covid-19 treatment centre at the Malaysia Agro Exposition Park Serdang beginning today with 100 beds and a buffer capacity of 850 additional beds. 

The measure is not taken because the hospitals do not have enough beds, but instead acts as a preemptive measure to provide a buffer to ensure hospitals could continue treating non-Covid patients, especially elective cases that have been delayed for two years. 

“The centre is for low-risk cases for shortterm usage during the Omicron wave. It will begin operations tomorrow (Friday) with 100 beds, with a buffer of 850 additional beds if needed to ensure the capacity in hospitals within the Klang Valley are under control and non-Covid treatments can resume without disruptions,” Khairy added. 

The minister also said that the utilisation rate of hospital beds, ventilators and intensive care units (ICUs) are still under control, despite the country logging the highest number of daily positive cases during the Omicron wave. Malaysia recorded 31,199 new cases on Wednesday and 55 deaths. 

“I also would like to inform everyone that the national R-naught rate has been declining in the past few days. The recent rate from yesterday (Wednesday) is 1.13. 

“Therefore, the number of daily new cases must be read together with the number of recoveries,” Khairy said. 

Hospitalisation rate on Wednesday also showed that the majority of those who were admitted are in Categories 1 and 2, which are considered mild. 

Regarding the vaccines, Khairy noted that Malaysia had never thrown away any unused vaccines due to the expiration period as all of the vaccines are utilised before they expire. 

The ministry will also finalise which countries will receive vaccine donations from Malaysia for unused vaccines or those that will expire in the months to come, said Khary. 

Meanwhile, the minister said the government has set a date to reopen the borders, which will be announced by Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob. 

“The PM will be announcing the date for the opening of borders. We already have a date and we will leave it to the PM to announce it.”