COVID: 160 pct increase in cases among children

PUTRAJAYA, Feb 17 — Malaysia recorded a 160 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases among children for the fifth to sixth epidemiological week (EW) this year, said Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

He said there was an increase from 6,524 cases in the fifth EW to 16,959 cases in the sixth EW involving newborns right up to children aged 11.

“Of the 6,524 cases, 2,282 involved newborns right up to toddlers aged four while 4,242 cases involved children aged five to 11,” he said at a press conference on COVID-19 here today.

As for the 16,959 cases, he said 6,163 involved newborns right up to toddlers aged four and 10,796 involved children aged five to 11.

Referring to the worrying rising trend of cases, Khairy urged the public to bring their children for the National COVID-19 Immunisation Programme for Children (PICKids) and be vaccinated immediately.

He said the response for PICKids in the country was still quite low, with registration still at less than one million.

“I also seek the cooperation of employers to allow their workers to take their children for vaccination,” he said.

In response to the concern among the public on the increasing number of COVID-19 hospital admissions, Khairy said that although cases were rising, the COVID-19 vaccines had proved very effective in protecting individuals from more serious infections.

Citing yesterday’s (Feb 16) 1,269 COVID-19 hospital admissions, he said 428 cases of 33.7 per cent were in categories three, four and five while the remaining 841 cases or 66.3 per cent were in categories one and two.

As for the categories three, four and five cases recorded yesterday, he said 75 of those cases involved those who were either not vaccinated or were not fully vaccinated and had received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine but had yet to get their booster dose.

Khairy also explained that one of the reasons COVID-19 patients in categories one and two were admitted to hospitals was due to medical emergencies, including having uncontrolled comorbidities, recently identified to have contracted uncontrolled non-communicable diseases, obstetric cases that require close monitoring and unsuitable home conditions.

As for cases involving children, it’s due to dehydration, prolonged fever and lethargy, having chronic illness and no one caring for them.

With the Omicron wave now very active, Khairy also suggested that employers avoid physical work arrangements such as meetings and gatherings and to, instead, encourage the concept of working from home.

On the latest development of the COVID-19 booster shot, he suggested that individuals who have yet to receive an appointment to just “walk in” to the nearest vaccination centre for their jabs.

Based on data in the COVIDNOW website as of yesterday, a total of 13,607,475 or 57.8 per cent of the adult population in the country have received their booster shots; a total of 22,940,521 individuals or 97.5 per cent have been fully vaccinated; and 98.7 per cent or 23,217,374 have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency