Singapore

3 positives and 3 negatives in Covid fight: Ong Ye Kung

During a virtual press conference yesterday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said there are three positives and three negatives in Singapore's ongoing fight against the largest wave of Covid-19 cases it has experienced since the start of the pandemic.

POSITIVES

Covid-19 cases have stabilised

This has happened for the last two weeks. Cases are no longer doubling every few days, as what Singapore had seen last month and early this month, Mr Ong said.

More patients with mild or no symptoms

About 98 per cent of infected individuals used to have mild or no symptoms. But in the last 28 days, this has increased to 98.6 per cent. The remaining 1.1 per cent of cases need oxygen supplementation, 0.1 per cent require time in the intensive care unit, and 0.2 per cent have died.

Fewer vaccinated seniors infected

Mr Ong said that at the peak earlier this month, there were 1,000 seniors aged 60 and above getting infected in a day. This has fallen to 279 as at Tuesday. The fall in numbers is due to a combination of factors, including seniors cutting back on their social activities and receiving booster jabs.

NEGATIVES

No sign of cases falling

It will take time for this to happen, said Mr Ong. "As more people get boosted, as individuals who are vaccinated catch the virus and experience only mild flu-like symptoms, the antibodies and the immunity in our society will build up over time," Mr Ong said.

"When that happens, we can open up social and economic activities without cases rising rapidly."

Healthcare system still under stress

Hospitals and healthcare workers remain under pressure, said Mr Ong. The 2,000 isolation rooms for Covid-19 are now 81 per cent full. "Queues have formed for Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients needing hospital beds in certain hospitals," he said.

Infections among unvaccinated seniors still very high

Mr Ong said this is in contrast to the trend for vaccinated seniors, for which cases are falling. Unvaccinated seniors account for two-thirds of patients in the ICU and who have died. Over the past five days, the number of infections for unvaccinated seniors averaged 127 cases a day."For unvaccinated seniors in their 60s, our data shows one in four will require oxygen, ICU care, or will succumb." The risk of serious illness goes up to one in three for those in their 70s, and one in two for those in their 80s or older. - THE STRAITS TIMES

coronavirus