Fresh Covid Wave In Singapore? Mask Advisory Back As Asian Nation Reports Over 25,000 Cases In A Week

Fresh Covid Wave In Singapore? Mask Advisory Back As Asian Nation Reports Over 25,000 Cases In A Week

Singapore is confronting a new wave of Covid-19, recording over 25,900 cases from May 5 to 11. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung urged the public to resume wearing masks as a precaution. The recent surge is driven by new variants collectively called FLiRT, with KP.1 and KP.2 accounting for more than two-thirds of the cases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified KP.2 as a variant under monitoring since May 3, but there is no evidence that these variants are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other strains, according to Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH). 

“We are at the beginning part of the wave where it is steadily rising,” Kung stated. “I would say the wave should peak in the next two to four weeks, which means between mid-and end of June,” he told The Straits Times. 

Significant Surge In Cases And Hospitalisations

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported a significant increase in Covid-19 cases, rising from 13,700 the previous week to 25,900 in the week of May 5 to 11. Average daily hospitalisations increased to about 250 from 181 the previous week, while intensive care unit (ICU) cases remained low, slightly increasing from two to three daily. 

To manage hospital capacity, public hospitals were instructed to reduce non-urgent elective surgeries and transfer suitable patients to transitional care facilities or home care through the Mobile Inpatient Care@Home programme, which allows clinically suitable patients to be treated at home. 

READ | Maharashtra Identifies 91 Cases Of New Covid-19 Variant ‘FLiRT’: Here’s All You Need To Know

Vaccination Urged For High-Risk Groups 

Kung urged those at high risk of severe disease, including persons aged 60 and above, medically vulnerable persons, and residents of aged care facilities, to receive an additional Covid-19 vaccine if they haven’t done so in the last 12 months. 

He warned that if Covid-19 cases double again, Singapore could have 500 patients in the healthcare system, a manageable number. However, if cases doubled a second time, reaching 1,000 patients, it would place a significant burden on the hospital system. “One thousand beds is equivalent to one regional hospital,” Ong noted. He said that while no social restrictions are currently planned, the healthcare system must be prepared for the potential increase in cases. 

Ong also mentioned that as a transport and communications hub, Singapore is likely to experience Covid-19 waves earlier than other cities. 

“So, Covid-19 is just something that have to live with. Every year, we should expect one or two waves,” he said. The predominant Covid-19 variants globally are JN.1 and its sub-lineages, including KP.1 and KP.2, which account for over two-thirds of the cases in Singapore. 

As of May 3, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified KP.2 as a variant under monitoring. There are no indications that KP.1 and KP.2 are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other variants. 

The MOH urged people to stay updated with vaccinations to protect against current and emerging strains. Above 80% of the local population have completed their initial to additional doses but have not received a dose within the last year.

READ | First Chinese Scientist To Publish Covid-19 Virus Sequence Allowed ‘Temporary’ Lab Access After Protest

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