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Singapore seeing new Covid-19 wave, minister advises wearing of masks

Globally, the predominant COVID-19 variants are still JN.1 and its sub-lineages, including KP.1 and KP.2. Currently, KP.1 and KP.2 account for over two-thirds of cases in Singapore

PTI Singapore Published 18.05.24, 02:32 PM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture.

Singapore is seeing a new COVID-19 wave as the authorities recorded more than 25,900 cases from May 5 to 11 even as Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Saturday advised the wearing of masks again. “We are at the beginning part of the wave where it is steadily rising,” said Ong. “So, I would say the wave should peak in the next two to four weeks, which means between mid- and end of June,” The Straits Times newspaper quoted the minister as saying.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the estimated number of COVID-19 cases in the week of May 5 to 11 rose to 25,900 cases, compared with 13,700 cases in the previous week.


The average daily COVID-19 hospitalisations rose to about 250 from 181 the week before.

The average daily intensive care unit (ICU) cases remained low at three cases, compared with two cases in the previous week.

The MOH said that to protect hospital bed capacity, public hospitals have been asked to reduce their non-urgent elective surgery cases and move suitable patients to transitional care facilities or back home through Mobile Inpatient Care@Home, an alternative inpatient care delivery model that offers clinically suitable patients the option of being hospitalised in their own homes instead of a hospital ward.

Ong urged those who are at greatest risk of severe disease, including individuals aged 60 years and above, medically vulnerable individuals and residents of aged care facilities, to receive an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccine if they have not done so in the last 12 months.

Ong said that if the number of COVID-19 cases doubles one time, Singapore will have 500 patients in its healthcare system, which is what Singapore can handle. However, if the number of cases doubles a second time, there will be 1,000 patients, and “that will be a considerable burden on the hospital system”, he pointed out.

“One thousand beds is equivalent to one regional hospital,” Ong said. “So, I think the healthcare system has to brace ourselves for what is to come.” There are no plans for any form of social restrictions or any other mandatory kind of measures for now, as COVID-19 is treated as an endemic disease in Singapore, he said, adding that imposing additional measures would be a last resort.

Ong said that with Singapore being a transport and communications hub, it will be one of the cities to get a wave of COVID-19 earlier than others.

“So, COVID-19 is just something that we have to live with. Every year, we should expect one or two waves,” he said.

Globally, the predominant COVID-19 variants are still JN.1 and its sub-lineages, including KP.1 and KP.2. Currently, KP.1 and KP.2 account for over two-thirds of cases in Singapore.

As of May 3, the World Health Organisation has classified KP.2 as a variant under monitoring. There are currently no indications, globally or locally, that KP.1 and KP.2 are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other circulating variants, the MOH said.

However, members of the public are urged to stay updated with vaccinations to protect themselves against current and emerging virus strains. The MOH said that to date, about 80 per cent of the local population have completed their initial or additional dose, but have not received a dose within the last year.

The ministry added that since COVID-19 vaccination started in 2020 to 2021, the vaccines have consistently been proven to be safe and effective in protecting individuals from severe illness. Billions of doses have been administered globally, and safety monitoring internationally has shown that the vaccine is safe, it said.

There have also been no long-term safety concerns with COVID-19 vaccination, and adverse effects from vaccines, including the mRNA vaccines, have all been observed to occur shortly after vaccination, the ministry added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.


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