Expert Calls for Protection of High Risk Groups as Covid-19 Cases Show Rising Trend

KOTA KINABALU: An infectious disease physician said booster shot priority should be given to high-risk groups as protection against worsening Covid-19 situation in Sabah.

Following the significant spike in coronavirus cases, from three to four-digits within three days, Dr Timothy William said it was inevitable that the number will continue to rise over the next few weeks.

Last month, it was reported that there were six cases of Omicron variant in Sabah. As for Rt value, the state stood at 1.29 yesterday.

“It is likely most cases will be from the Omicron variant which has a high infectivity rate but seems to be less virulent. Most people who have been fully vaccinated will have a mild infection.

“However, those who have not been vaccinated are at risk of getting severe infections,” he told the New Straits Times, adding that high risk people are those above 60 and who have comorbidities.

Dr William urged the high risk groups to get their booster doses as soon as possible as they will likely have severe effects when infected by the virus.

The same preventive measures through vaccination and boosting should also applied for the younger generation as almost half of the Covid-19 cases are among those between 18 and 39-years-old.

Education clusters, 17 of which are still active, have also contributed to a significant number of cases since the reopening of schools last month.

“It is inevitable there will be clusters in schools. (However), young people and children have a very low risk of developing severe Covid-19.

“The risk of developing severe infections in children and in young people can be further reduced if they receive the vaccine. If they (parents) are worried then they should ensure that their children are vaccinated,” he added.

Asked how bad the situation will be, Dr William said it is difficult to predict how high the cases will go and it is not pragmatic to focus on daily cases.

“However, it is important to monitor the number of people who are ill enough to be admitted and those who die.”

As of Feb 5, Sabah recorded 2,837 deaths with 1,110 being brought in dead. Today, the hospital bed utilisation in the state is 64.5 per cent.

Dr William added that despite the expected rising number of cases, he said travel, movement restrictions and lockdowns of any kind have not shown to be effective.

“Personal protection and responsibility are still the best ways to protect yourself.”


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