Tuesday, October 3, 2023
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Rise in local cases a cause for concern

James Kon & Izah Azahari

The increase in the number of local cases over the past few days is a cause of concern, Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar said at the press conference yesterday.

The Sultanate recorded 20 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, 15 of which were local and five imported.

The new cases include a residential cluster of seven people, the minister said, adding that it is crucial to note that the recent clusters emerged from gatherings such as New Year’s events or weddings.

“It is important for individuals who attended events where positive cases have been identified to first screen themselves – with an antigen rapid test (ART) kit – to ensure they are not infected,” he said.

He reminded the public that even after completing the COVID-19 vaccination, there is still a possibility of getting infected, and while it may not present symptoms in some, they may become the cause of a spread in other places.

Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar speaks at the press conference. PHOTO: JAMES KON

“If you have attended ceremonies that have reported positive cases, carry out an ART screening.

“Sometimes, these positive cases may not be able to recollect who attended the event and the contact-tracing team can only rely on information given to them,” the minister said.

The minister said individuals feeling unwell should avoid attending events, while the host must ensure anyone with a fever is not permitted entry, or to carry out screening on location, or have attendees present their ART certificates.

“There are many ways for people to get together and it is hoped that these people will assume responsibility in ensuring the pandemic is well in control,” Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said.

The 20 new COVID-19 infections bring the national tally of confirmed cases to 15,597.

The number of new cases is the result of 1,583 laboratory tests conducted over the past 24 hours, bringing the rate of positive case to 1.3 per cent.

“At the National Isolation Centre (NIC), one Category 4 case is under close monitoring and receiving oxygen assistance. The Sultanate also recorded five recoveries today, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 15,350. There are 145 active cases and the bed occupancy rate at isolation centres nationwide stands at 3.9 per cent,” he said.

As of January 2022, 94.6 per cent of the populace have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, 93.6 per cent have received two doses, and 26.8 per cent have received the booster shot under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme.

In regard to certain countries viewing booster shots as a criteria to maintaining the fully vaccinated status, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham said the Sultanate considers an individual who has received two shots of the vaccine, to be certified as fully vaccinated.

“The booster shot is only encouraged and not a passport to meet the full vaccination criteria,” he said, before adding that the booster shot is still encouraged to help prevent COVID-19 symptoms.

Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health Haji Maswadi bin Haji Mohsin also attended the press conference.

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