Singapore’s COVID wave should be less severe: health minister

1 month ago 37

Singapore’s latest influx of COVID-19 infections won’t be as bad as last year, a top health official said today.

In fact, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the government knew cases would spike when they learned of the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, but they didn’t know it would happen before this month. Regardless, Kung said past infections and booster shots have the population stronger and more immune to the virus.

“For this current wave, our assessment is that it will not be as severe as the Omicron wave earlier this year. This is because many more of us have gained stronger immunity either through booster shots or recovery from infections,” Kung told parliament today. 

He was answering a question from MP Ang Wei Neng about the government’s plan to tackle the current outbreak, which peaked last week with more than 11,000 new daily cases. It even got to President Halimah Yacob, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin and Minister for Culture, Community and Youth Edwin Tong, who all tested positive yesterday. 

The number of infections today is expected to exceed 12,000. But Kung said people should be thankful the numbers were not much higher.

“There are indications that we are near the peak, if not at the peak, and we should be relieved that the number this week did not double from last week,” Kung added. 

Hospitals are also ready to be ramped up to prepare for more patients, and there are enough beds at COVID-19 treatment facilities, which are only a quarter filled.

But public hospitals still face “high demand” from non-COVID patients which can’t be helped.

On bringing back more stringent safe management measures, Kung said they might return if things get worse but should “avoid them” since the government is “reasonably confident” about the hospitals’ preparedness.

Singapore yesterday recorded 5,946 cases and one death. The seven-day average has been increasing since mid-June, when more than 8,500 cases were recorded in the past week. 

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