Singapore: Fresh Covid wave across country; health minister advises use of masks again

Singapore: Fresh Covid wave across country; health minister advises use of masks again

Singapore records over 25,900 Covid-19 cases from May 5 to 11. Health Minister Ong Ye Kung advises public to mask up and receive vaccine boosters if not done in the last 12 months.


Singapore recorded more than 25,900 cases from May 5 to 11 giving rise to a fresh Covid-19 wave.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on May 18 advised the wearing of masks again.

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

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the estimated number of cases in the week of May 5 to 11 rose to 25,900 cases, compared with 13,700 cases in the previous week, while the average daily Covid-19 hospitalisations rose to about 250 from 181 the week before.

The average daily intensive care unit (ICU) cases remained low at three cases, compared with two cases in the previous week.

The MOH said that to protect hospital bed capacity, public hospitals have been asked to reduce their non-urgent elective surgery cases and move suitable patients to transitional care facilities or back home through Mobile Inpatient Care@Home, an alternative inpatient care delivery model that offers clinically suitable patients the option of being hospitalised in their own homes instead of a hospital ward.

Ong urged those who are at greatest risk of severe disease, including individuals aged 60 years and above, medically vulnerable individuals and residents of aged care facilities, to receive an additional dose of the Covid-19 vaccine if they have not done so in the last 12 months.

Ong said that if the number of Covid-19 cases doubles one time, Singapore will have 500 patients in its healthcare system, which is what Singapore can handle. However, if the number of cases doubles a second time, there will be 1,000 patients, and “that will be a considerable burden on the hospital system”, he pointed out.

“One thousand beds is equivalent to one regional hospital,” Ong said. “So, I think the healthcare system has to brace ourselves for what is to come.”

There are no plans for any form of social restrictions or any other mandatory kind of measures for now, as Covid-19 is treated as an endemic disease in Singapore, he said, adding that imposing additional measures would be a last resort.

Ong said that with Singapore being a transport and communications hub, it will be one of the cities to get a wave of Covid-19 earlier than others.

“So, Covid-19 is just something that we have to live with. Every year, we should expect one or two waves,” he said.

Globally, the predominant Covid-19 variants are still JN.1 and its sub-lineages, including KP.1 and KP.2. Currently, KP.1 and KP.2 account for over two-thirds of cases in Singapore.

However, members of the public are urged to stay updated with vaccinations to protect themselves against current and emerging virus strains. The MOH said that to date, about 80 per cent of the local population have completed their initial or additional dose, but have not received a dose within the last year.

Edited By: Avantika
Published On: May 18, 2024