Singapore sees new COVID-19 wave; Minister advises mask wearing

Singapore sees new COVID-19 wave; Minister advises mask wearing

Singapore sees new COVID-19 wave; Minister advises mask wearing

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Singapore is currently experiencing a new surge in COVID-19 cases, with over 25,900 cases recorded from May 5 to 11, prompting Health Minister Ong Ye Kung to advise the public to wear masks again. 

Ong stated that the country is at the beginning stages of this wave, with cases expected to peak in the next two to four weeks, between mid- and end of June.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a significant increase in COVID-19 cases compared to the previous week, with an estimated 25,900 cases recorded. Hospitalizations have also risen, with an average daily count of about 250, up from 181 the previous week. However, intensive care unit (ICU) cases remain relatively low, with an average daily count of three cases.

To manage hospital bed capacity, public hospitals have been instructed to reduce non-urgent elective surgeries and transfer suitable patients to transitional care facilities or home through Mobile Inpatient Care@Home.

Ong urged high-risk individuals, including those aged 60 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.

He emphasized the importance of controlling the spread of the virus, warning that if the number of cases continues to double, it could overwhelm the healthcare system. Singapore is prepared to handle up to 500 patients in its healthcare system, but doubling cases could put considerable strain on hospitals.

While there are currently no plans for social restrictions or mandatory measures, Ong stressed the need for vigilance, as COVID-19 is now considered endemic in Singapore. He noted that Singapore, as a transport and communications hub, is likely to experience waves of COVID-19 earlier than other cities.

Globally, the predominant COVID-19 variants in Singapore are JN.1 and its sub-lineages, including KP.1 and KP.2. While KP.1 and KP.2 account for over two-thirds of cases, there are currently no indications that they are more transmissible or cause more severe disease.

The MOH emphasized the importance of vaccination, with about 80% of the local population having completed their initial or additional doses. Vaccines have consistently proven to be safe and effective in protecting against severe illness, with no long-term safety concerns reported.

In conclusion, Singapore continues to monitor the situation closely and urges the public to stay updated with vaccinations to protect against current and emerging virus strains.