Covid-19 cases in S’pore top 56,000 in first week of December, people urged to wear masks in crowded places, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Covid-19 cases in S’pore top 56,000 in first week of December, people urged to wear masks in crowded places

Covid-19 infections jumped to 56,043 in the week of Dec 3 to 9, a 75 per cent increase over the 32,035 infections in the previous week, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Dec 15.

This is the third week of increase in Covid-19 infections. MOH said it will update figures daily from Dec 19.

It advised the public to wear a mask in crowded places even if they are not sick, especially indoors or around vulnerable people.

MOH said in the media release that it will open a second Covid-19 treatment facility at Singapore Expo Hall 10 this weekend to increase the number of beds for Covid-19 patients. Their doctors will decide if they should be admitted.

A treatment facility already operates at Crawfurd Hospital in Adam Road. Together, the two facilities can take more than 80 patients, and the new facility can be expanded, if necessary.

In addition, hospitals will take steps to meet the rise in demand for beds.

Said MOH: “To preserve our healthcare capacity, MOH has been working with public hospitals for contingency planning, including ensuring adequate manpower and deferring of non-urgent electives to maximise bed capacity for urgent cases in need of acute care.”

The average hospitalisation rate has surged to 350 admissions daily, up from 225 the previous week.

In the week ended Dec 9, 23 Covid-19 patients were admitted to intensive care units (ICUs), up from nine the previous week, and the highest on a weekly basis for the year. A total of 763 patients were hospitalised with Covid-19.

Public hospitals are also turning to other institutes, such as transitional care facilities, to house patients who are more stable.

MOH said travellers should take precautions, such as wearing a mask at the airport, buying travel insurance in case they need medical care overseas and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Dec 13 that the healthcare impact of the latest spike in numbers is low, with fewer than 10 cases in ICUs at any one time.

Although more than 560 Covid-19 patients were hospitalised on Dec 13, it is a fraction of the 1,726 at the peak of the pandemic.

Covid-19 is not the only airborne infectious disease that has been on the rise here. In the week of Dec 3 to 9, polyclinics saw 3,590 acute upper respiratory infections a day – up from 2,970 a day the previous week. Polyclinics, which treat about 20 per cent of acute illness cases in primary care, serve as a yardstick for the nation.

Doctors are urging people to get both the influenza vaccine and Covid-19 booster shots, especially if they are medically vulnerable or are seniors with underlying medical conditions, for whom such infections can be serious.

The flu vaccine, which protects against the main strains now circulating here, is free for those who have signed up with Healthier SG, the national healthcare scheme to promote better health among Singaporeans. Flu kills about 600 people a year here. In comparison, Covid-19 caused 226 deaths in the first 10 months of 2023.

The ministry again urged people to exercise personal and social responsibility. Those who are unwell with symptoms such as coughing, sneezing, a stuffy or runny nose, a sore throat, headaches, muscle aches or a fever should stay at home until they recover, and avoid contact with others. It said: “Our society has weathered several infection waves and emerged more resilient each time, and we can similarly withstand this wave with everyone’s cooperation.”

Where to get the updated Covid-19 vaccine

People should get a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine about a year and no earlier than five months after the last jab, said MOH.

The updated monovalent Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna/Spikevax Covid-19 vaccines can provide a stronger immune response against current and emerging strains compared with older, bivalent vaccines. They are as safe as the previous versions.

The vaccines are free under the National Vaccination Programme for all Singaporean citizens, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and certain short-term pass holders.

The nearest vaccination site and the types of vaccines offered at each site are listed at

Those who prefer to book an appointment for their vaccination can either call the clinic directly or do so at