KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 3 — The severity of Covid-19 cases in Malaysia is currently the prime concern for the Health Ministry following the emergence of the Omicron variant rather than the number of daily infections, said its minister Khairy Jamaluddin today.

In a press conference, he said that hospital admissions, intensive care units (ICU) cases, and fatality index are the main indicators to decide whether more public health regulations will be eased up in the future.

“I have mentioned that the cases index will be increased because we already have Omicron in the country as the variant is highly transmissible,” he said after launching the National Covid-19 Vaccination Program for children (PICKids) here.

“If we look at other countries, their cases have increased exponentially. But the most important thing is not really the number of cases but the severity of those cases.

“If the severity of the cases has been lessened, it means that hospital admissions and [other severity indicators]. So we can continue to reopen the country,” he added.

As more than half of Malaysia’s adult population reached another milestone after getting their booster shots, Khairy encouraged the rest of the population to do the same as the country is eager to reopen the economy.

“Approach is calibrated, targeted and proportionate in opening up the economy and not broad brush.

“Cautious steps still but, with the encouraging boosting and PICKids program, opening up will be accelerated but face masks are here to stay and no compromise,” he added.

He also said that the country’s healthcare system is currently well prepared compared to last year in case of a surge of hospital admissions due to Covid-19 cases happening again.

“We have added the ICU capacity, we are more confident in terms of the decanting pathway. So that if there will be a surge of hospital admissions, we already have a system same as in the private hospitals.

“So that we can send non-Covid-19 cases to private hospitals,” he added.

Yesterday it was reported that a total of 12,022,117 adults or 51.4 per cent of the group in the country have received the Covid-19 booster dose.

National news agency Bernama reported that based on the CovidNow portal, a total 22,925,383 individuals or 97.9 per cent of the adult population in the country have completed their Covid-19 vaccine dose, while 99.1 per cent or 23,202,227 individuals have received at least one dose of the vaccine.