After a lull, Singapore is witnessing a surge in COVID cases with up to 5,000 daily cases expected next week. A top Minister has warned the cases are rising, way quicker than projected.
Singapore on Friday reported 2,909 new cases, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. A total of 103 people have died from the virus to date.
The daily number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore may rise to more than 5,000 next week, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force (MTF) Gan Kim Yong said on Saturday.
“Depending on how the trajectory will develop, we may start to see the number of daily infections rise to more than 5,000 next week. The vast majority, however, will be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms and can recover swiftly at home, Channel News Asia quoted Gan, who is also Minister of Trade and Industry and has been issued a health risk warning (HRW) after coming into close contact with a COVID patient.
Although the daily number of cases has continued to rise, the rate of increase appears to have slowed down slightly, added the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a release.
“We are in a totally different position now, as we try to ride safely through this transmission wave to emerge more resilient on the other side, and able to live with COVID-19,” said Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung, also co-chair of the MTF.
The protocols are “many and complex to the man in the street”, Ong said, and that to them it is “confusing and even frustrating”. Meanwhile, MOH has added Toa Payoh/Kim Keat Avenue Dormitory for migrant workers to its 13 active clusters that were being closely monitored.
The latest dormitory had 22 cases, one of which was confirmed on Saturday. Another 41 cases have been added to the Blue Stars Dormitory cluster, which is currently the biggest active cluster with 483 infections.
The second-biggest Avery Lodge cluster also added 18 new cases (taking the total to 415).
COVID-19 clusters have been declared at nine dorms, where migrant workers employed in the labour-intensive industries are lodged. All the dormitory clusters involve intra-dormitory transmission amongst residents with no evidence of spread beyond the dormitory, said MOH.
The four fatalities were all Singaporeans, three women and one man, aged between 55 and 80 years old. This raised COVID-19 linked deaths to 107 in Singapore. The Saturday infections raised the total cases to 101,786 since the disease began spreading here last year. There were six imported cases or people who arrived here from abroad.
MOH said that most of the 1,422 patients warded in the hospital are well and under observation. Among them were 243 cases of serious illness who required oxygen supplementation, and 31 in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).
Separately, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Saturday called for patience from those who would like to see Singapore reopen sooner.
He added that people should not get too anxious or fearful about the total number of new cases being reported daily.
“Our overall strategy (for) reopening has not changed, but this is the first time we are experiencing such a big wave and it is causing tremendous stress on our healthcare system and our healthcare workers,” he said at a press conference held by the MTF tackling COVID-19.
Wong, who co-chairs the MTF, noted that the tighter measures imposed during the stabilisation phase from September 27 to October 24 are meant to slow the rate of increase of transmission to buy time for new healthcare protocols to stabilise, not to bring down the total number of new daily cases.
Wong also said that even as Singapore waits for the current wave of infections to peak and decline over the next few weeks, Singaporeans should be mentally prepared for future waves to follow. This is because Singapore has one of the lowest rates of past COVID-19 infection in the population, The Straits Times had the Minister as saying.
With Agency inputs