Singapore must be ready to reinstate face masks, cautions Health Minister

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Singapore must be prepared to reinstate safe management measures such as wearing masks, should it face a wave of COVID-19 infections caused by a nasty variant, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung cautioned on Monday.

He noted that since Singapore faced numerous Omicron subvariants, the presence of recombinants – or variants that combine genetic material from two different variants – of existing subvariants, is expected.

The XBB variant, which drove the most recent wave of Covid-19 infections here, is also a recombinant.

So reimposing curbs will help slow transmissions but not unduly disrupt the lives of people here, the health minister said.

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The minister, who is a co-chair of the multi-ministry task force tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, noted that with virtually all safe management measures lifted, Singapore is practically back to the pre-pandemic normality, with many travelling and the country hosting numerous international conferences and events.

This could make the country vulnerable as it could encounter a new and dangerous variant, he said.

We need to be prepared, in case there is a nasty infection wave. We need to have our contingency plans in place, The Straits Times newspaper quoted Kung as saying.

A key response to future waves is Singapores vaccine strategy, he said, stressing that it is important for older people to keep their vaccinations up to date as they are more likely to develop a severe case of COVID-19.

Even in the last month, two of every 100 infected people aged 70 and above who were not fully vaccinated either died or ended up in intensive care, he said.

Singapore has recorded 2,099,760 cases of COVID-19 and 1,676 deaths related to Covid-19 to date.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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