Health Minister Ong Ye Kung – Singapore facing 3 uncertainties with the current COVID situation

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Image credit: Screen grab of CNA YouTube video

Daily cases reported at 934 yesterday, the highest reported number of cases since May last year.

The rising number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore is not unexpected as the country moves forward with a four part plan to dealing with Covid-19 as an endemic. However, this surge in cases did come much sooner than authorities had hoped.

The four part plan comprises of the Preparatory Stage, Transition Stage A, Transition Stage B and COVID-19 Resilient Nation. Singapore is currently facing these large numbers in the Preparatory Stage, which leads to the following uncertainties (as quoted by health minister Ong Ye Kung)

“How long more daily cases are going to rise exponentially before the trajectory bends and then eventually turns downwards?”

“Whether we will run out of ICU capacity”

“Whether our hospitals as a whole will be overburdened, running out of even normal hospital beds. With doctors and nurses not being able to cope with the increased workload”

Even as a country with one of the highest vaccination rates in the world (around 80% of the population being fully vaccinated), numbers are still expected to rise while hopefully retaining or decreasing the percentage needing ICU care. It is currently at “0.1 percent to 0.2 percent overall,” said Mr Ong. These numbers are considerably low but it is still important to not get complacent in a time like this because as we have seen, cases can easily spike and double in short periods of time.

The people of Singapore are being advised to stay home as much as possible, reduce social interactions in a bid to curb the spread of the highly infectious virus. Individuals who have yet to be vaccinated are strongly urged to do so and vaccinated individuals are also advised to get their booster shot as soon as it is their turn to.

To avoid overburdening hospitals, Mr Ong has mentioned, “we are ramping up the capacity of our community care facilities by another one thousand beds, and this will help divert demand from hospitals as majority of the patients have no symptoms or mild symptoms.”. The government is also in the process of distributing Antigen Rapid Test (ART) self-test kits to households, schools and supporting companies in doing so as well.

Constant monitoring and fast responses to the evolving Covid-19 situation is essential, especially during this period as it will inform the government’s next steps for the country.

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