KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 1 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today reminded the public to conduct self-testing before visiting loved ones for the Chinese New Year celebration, pointing to the increase in Covid-19 cases in the country driven by the Omicron variant.

In a Facebook post, Khairy reiterated the importance of vaccination, adding that a high inoculation rate and compliance to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and allow the public to celebrate safely.

“As witnessed over the past few days, there has been an increase in Covid-19 cases in our country with the onset of the Omicron variant wave,” he said.

“However, with the high vaccination rate and compliance with the SOPs that we practise, I am confident that we can all overcome it and celebrate this festive season more safely. Perform a self-test before visiting family and friends and always follow the SOP when doing your visiting activities.

“Hopefully this year of the tiger which is associated with the courage, competitiveness, confidence and ambition can bring us all out of the pandemic we are facing now,” Khairy added.

The number of new Covid-19 cases reported for the fourth epidemiological week between January 23 and 29 increased by 34.6 per cent to 31,980 cases, compared to 23,752 the previous week, national news agency Bernama reported yesterday.

The report quoted Health Director-General Tan Sri Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah saying that the average number of active cases rose by 14 per cent, from an average of 40,473 in the third week to 46,158 in the fourth week.

Yesterday, Malaysia’s new daily Covid-19 cases stayed below the 5,000 mark after recording 4,774 infections in the past 24-hour.

This also marked another dip from 4,915 the day before, which ended the country’s three days streak of recording above 5,000 cases in daily Covid-19.

It also brought the total number of Covid-19 cases in the country, since the start of the pandemic, to 2,870,758.