Singapore reports highest surge in COVID cases in a year

 Wednesday, September 15, 2021 

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Singapore

On Tuesday, September 15, 2021, Singapore reported its highest one-day Covid case total in more than a year, with 837 cases in a day. In response to the growing outbreak, the government paused reopening plans and reimposed some restrictions.

As of Tuesday, a total of 809 people were in hospital. Of these, 75 were seriously ill and required oxygen, and nine were in intensive care. According to the Ministry of Health, majority of seriously ill patients were older than 66 years of age.

Eighty-one per cent of the entire population is fully vaccinated excluding, under-12s, it is 90% and the number of seriously ill patients is fairly low overall. Just four people have died in the past 28 days, all of whom were unvaccinated, according to the health ministry.

However, the number of those seriously ill is increasing. The number of patients requiring oxygen doubled to 54 on Sunday from two days before, an important gauge to judge whether the medical system could get overwhelmed. The ministry said in a statement that over the last 28 days, the percentage of local cases who were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms is 98.1%.

It mentioned that of the 114 cases who required oxygen supplementation, 56 were not fully vaccinated and 58 were fully vaccinated. Of the eight who had been in the ICU, five were not fully vaccinated and three were fully vaccinated.

Last week, Lawrence Wong, Finance Minister and co-chair of the coronavirus taskforce, Singapore said that a key indicator in determining reopening moves would be the number of patients in intensive care units over the next two to four weeks. At present there are 300 ICU beds available, which could be increased to 1,000. He mentioned that if numbers stay manageable, the country will resume reopening plans.

The health ministry also banned social gatherings at workplaces in response to clusters detected in staff canteens. The new outbreak is being watched by other countries that have managed to keep case numbers relatively low throughout the pandemic. Australia’s prime minister said in July that an 80% vaccination rate (of the eligible population) would herald the end of statewide coronavirus lockdowns.

In China, Putian, a city of 3.2 million, ordered testing of all residents on Tuesday after Delta variant cases linked to a returnee from Singapore ballooned into a province-wide outbreak of more than 100 people. Singapore is now considering a third shot for younger adults and may start inoculating children early next year. This week it will start boosters to elderly people and immunocompromised groups.

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