Health

Singapore outbreak of infections


Amid a spike in the number of Covid-19 cases, the Singapore government said the country was entering a “decisive phase” on whether to continue the reopening process.

In the last two weeks, the country has reported 76 positive cases per day on average, but only on September 10, Singapore recorded 568 nCoV infections.

On September 12, the country recorded 555 new Covid-19 cases, similar to the previous day and also the highest level within a year. The number of cases in Singapore increased as the country gradually reopened, after more than 80% of the population was fully vaccinated.

Authorities are looking into whether demand in the intensive care unit (ICU) will increase. Hospitals are required to prepare extra beds in case of an emergency. At the same time, the medical team temporarily suspends treatment for non-essential cases to reduce pressure on the care system.

As of 9/9, 7 out of 1,000 ICU beds for people with Covid-19 have been used. In addition, 631 positive cases are being treated at hospitals.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the government hopes the number of nCoV infections requiring intensive care will be less than 300 people; Exceeding this number will put pressure on the national health system. “We can manage within that limit,” he said.

Mr. Ong emphasized that Singapore is still proceeding with a plan to live with Covid-19, instead of trying to destroy it completely.

“We do not want to change direction in this route,” the Health Minister affirmed. According to him, it is now necessary to monitor the number of people with severe nCoV infections in the coming weeks. “We still want to move forward, but in no hurry. The Ministry of Health is actively monitoring, responding and controlling the situation.”

Ong acknowledged that authorities had expected Covid-19 cases to increase after Singapore allowed many activities and services to reopen, but this came earlier than expected. According to him, the rapid increase in nCoV infections by the Delta variant is the phase that countries have to go through when trying to live with the pandemic.

Office workers during their lunch break in downtown Singapore, September 8. Photo: Reuters

According to Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, Singaporeans should not be complacent. “An exponential increase in Covid-19 cases could change the situation in the next few weeks,” he warned.

Lawrence said that while the country does not need to impose a blockade order “at this stage”, pushing for any reopening measures is “a reckless act”.

Officials said that the number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore remains low for now, but the next few weeks will be a “decisive period” for this country.

Kenneth Mak, director of health services at the Ministry of Health, said authorities are monitoring the number of patients in intensive care units over the next two to three weeks, to see if the cases are severe. this decrease or continue to increase.

Health Minister Ong warned that the number of people infected with Covid-19 could peak at 3,200 cases a day before gradually decreasing. Outbreaks typically occur in four to five cycles, he said, doubling every 10 days. Singapore on August 23 recorded 100 cases of Covid-19. On September 3, 200 positive cases were reported. Currently, this country records about 400 new cases every day.

To reduce pressure on the medical team, children over 5 years old with Covid-19 can be treated at home. Patients with a negative test result after one week were allowed to leave the hospital. The quarantine period is shortened from 14 days to 10 days. The government is also stepping up testing and increasing vaccination coverage in the coming days.

Kieu Oanh (Follow SCMP)

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