Mr Khairy also said that while the number of COVID-19 cases has increased, the number of deaths has not grown in tandem. This is a different situation from how the numbers spiked when the Delta variant hit Malaysia in August last year.
The minister also reiterated the importance of taking COVID-19 vaccine booster jabs. He said that for Category 3, 4 and 5 cases on Feb 16, 52.8 per cent had not received their boosters while 24.7 per cent were not fully vaccinated.
“The boosters are very important to reduce the severity of the disease,” he said, adding that anyone could walk into the vaccination centres to get their jabs.
The minister also said that there was a 160 per cent increase in the number of children below 12 who were infected by COVID-19 in the sixth epidemiological week of this year, compared to the fifth epidemiological week.
Mr Khairy said that the number of new daily cases will no longer be released in the afternoon.
Instead, from Feb 19 onwards, it will be released together with other relevant data including bed utilisation, number of patients in intensive care and number of those requiring respiratory assistance.
“This is to decrease the fear factor about the number of daily cases. This will involve a mindset change. Rather than looking at 20,000 cases or 30,000 cases daily, we should look at it with the other metrics and get a clearer picture of the real situation,” he stated.
When asked about the gap in going for booster shots among the different ethnicities in Malaysia, Mr Khairy noted that there was hesitancy among the Malay community to do so.
“It is not that we want to look at it from a racial lens. But when the numbers are so clear … one ethnicity has a high uptake while the others are low, I feel if we don’t take into account this information, we will not be able to conduct effective intervention,” he said, adding that efforts to engage with the community must be increased.
Malaysia reported 27,831 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, marking the sixth consecutive day the country has exceeded 20,000 daily infections.
It was Malaysia's highest ever daily tally of COVID-19 cases.
As of Thursday, more than 13.6 million or 57.8 per cent of the adult population have received their booster dose while 97.5 per cent have completed their vaccination.
Mr Khairy had said last week that the spike in COVID-19 caseload was not unexpected, and that the Omicron wave is expected to peak in the second half of March.
Since the start of the pandemic, Malaysia has reported more than 3 million COVID-19 cases with more than 32,000 deaths.