Covid-19 cases increase due to Omicron, non compliance with SOP


KOTA KINABALU (Feb 6): Several factors, including people not fully complying with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) implemented to curb the spread of Covid-19 have contributed to the increase of infections in the state.

State Covid-19 spokesperson Datuk Seri Panglima Masidi Manjun said the ‘indifference’ to SOP compliance is common either while gathering with friends or while in public.

“For example, people are less vigilant about wearing face masks and practicising social distancing when out in public. This careless attitude facilitates infection and in turn increases the number of new patients,” said Masidi.

The Local Government and Housing Minister also pointed out that it is clear the Covid-19 virus is already widespread in the community which facilitates the infection more quickly.

“As many as 47.55 per cent of new infections today occurred sporadically and are only noticed when patients experience symptoms of Covid-19 infection. They are placed under the symptomatic screening category of patients.

“The number of those in this category was higher than the number of patients who were close contact to index cases (45.37 per cent). It is also observed that the percentage of cases through symptomatic screening is high in urban areas,” Masidi said.

He cited as an example that almost 50 per cent of the new cases in Kota Kinabalu were from symptomatic screening.

Masidi also said the soaring number of new cases since this week is likely also due to Omicron, a variant that spreads faster although the symptoms of infection are milder than other variants.

“This however, is subject to confirmation by the state Health Department,” he said, adding that the infection rate of Omicron B2 variant, which is the dominant variant in the Philippines, is 1.8 faster than the normal variant. The same variant also resulted in a high increase in cases in Singapore and in many countries in the world.

Masidi disclosed that the daily Covid-19 infections in Sabah continued to soar with 1,285 cases reported on Sunday.

Earlier in the day he tweeted, “As predicted, new cases continue to shoot up and today, it’s 1,285, 80 more cases than yesterday. High symptomatic/sporadic cases (47.5 per cent) fuelling faster community transmission rate; expect higher number ahead.

According to him, 1,276 of the 1,285 cases (99.3 per cent) are those in Categories 1 and 2.
Many districts, the Local Government and Housing Minister said, recorded a high number of cases with 309 reported in the state capital, 201 in Sandakan, 150 in Tuaran and 108 in Penampang.

Other districts recorded double digit cases, namely Papar 79, Tawau 78, Lahad Datu 56, Putatan 36, Ranau and Kunak 34 each and Kota Marudu 33.

Masidi said that there are five individuals in Category 3, three in Category 4 and one in Category 5.

He said 1,324 individuals are being treated for the virus with 635 in hospital, 683 at Low Risk Quarantine Centres and six in temporary detention centres/prison.

Of the 1,324 patients, 24 are warded in ICU with seven of them needing ventilators, he said, adding that no fatalities were reported on Sunday.