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S'pore Going Through Another Covid-19 Wave, No Plans For Social Restrictions: Ong Ye Kung

Fresh Covid-19 Wave Driven Mostly By EG.5 & HK.3 Variants

Singaporeans have largely been living life like it’s 2019, with mask-wearing and social distancing a distant memory.

However, Covid-19 hasn’t left at all, and is making yet another comeback, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has warned.

In fact, Singapore is now going through another Covid-19 wave, he said.

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

There are no plans to impose any social restrictions.

Singapore experiencing 2nd Covid-19 wave this year

Speaking at the opening of a new addictions ward at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) on Friday (6 Oct), Mr Ong took the opportunity to give an update on the current Covid-19 situation.

He revealed that we’re experiencing a second Covid-19 wave this year, according to a transcript of his speech from the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The first was from March to May, he added. At its peak, 28,410 cases were recorded from 26 March to 1 April, or epidemiological week (e-week) 13, according to statistics from MOH.

2,000 cases a day for past 2 weeks

Mr Ong said the estimated cases per day have risen from about 1,000 three weeks ago to 2,000 over the past two weeks.

Thankfully, the number of estimated infections is currently low compared to previous waves, MOH said in a note on its Covid-19 statistics page.

A total of 14,843 cases were recorded from 17 to 23 Sep (e-week 38), compared with 6,401 cases in the previous week.

That means we haven’t reached the height of this year’s previous wave, which saw 4,000 cases daily in one week.

Source: MOH

The minister said the current wave is driven mostly by two variants — EG.5 and HK.3. Both of them are descendants of the XBB strain of the Omicron variant.

More than 75% of cases have been caused by these two variants.

No plans for social restrictions despite Covid-19 wave

On another positive note, the Government has “no plans to impose any social restrictions”, Mr Ong assured, saying,

He maintained that there’s “no evidence” to suggest that variants EG.5 and HK.3 are more likely to cause severe illness compared with previous ones.

Even if infected, “current vaccines continue to work well” to protect us from severe illness, he added.

Seniors & medically vulnerable should take precautions

Nevertheless, Mr Ong advised seniors and those who are medically vulnerable to take precautions.

For example, they should wear a mask in crowded places.

They should also keep their vaccinations up to date — that means taking a shot at least once a year, he said.

He warned that if those people allowed their protection from vaccination to completely wear off, “an infection now can be as worrisome as when the pandemic first broke out and we had no vaccinations”.

More people expected to be hospitalised

Mr Ong additionally predicted that more people would fall sick “in the coming weeks”.

If this happens, more people could also end up in hospital, causing waiting times to increase.

According to MOH, the number of hospitalisations went up slightly between 24 and 30 Sep (e-week 39), most of whom were above 60 years old.

Source: MOH

If worse is to come, we may see a further rise in the numbers.

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Featured image adapted from Ong Ye Kung on Facebook and MS News.

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