Health Minister: Singapore’s Covid wave should be less severe

A senior health official said today that the recent influx of COVID-19 infections in Singapore will not be as bad as it was last year.

In fact, Health Minister Aung Yi Kung said the government knew cases would rise when they learned about the Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but they didn’t know that would happen until this month. Regardless, Kong said previous infections and the booster shots are making residents stronger and more immune to the virus.

For this current wave, our assessment is that it will not be as severe as the Omicron wave earlier this year. This is because many of us have gained stronger immunity either through booster injections or recovering from infection,” Kong told Parliament today.

He was responding to a question from Representative Ang Wei-ning about the government’s plan to tackle the current outbreak, which peaked last week with more than 11,000 new daily cases. He even reached out to President Halimah Yacoub, Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan Jin, and Minister of Culture, Society and Youth Edwin Tong, who tested positive yesterday.

The number of infections today is expected to exceed 12,000. But Kong said people should be thankful that the numbers were not much higher.

“There are indications that we are close to the peak, if not the peak, and we should be relieved that the number this week has not doubled from last week,” Kong added.

Hospitals are also ready to ramp up to prepare for more patients, and there are enough beds in COVID-19 treatment facilities, of which only a quarter are filled.

But public hospitals still face “high demand” of patients without coronavirus, which cannot be helped.

When reinstating stricter safe management measures, Kong said they might return if things go wrong but should be “avoided” because the government is “reasonably confident” that hospitals are prepared.

Yesterday, Singapore recorded 5,946 cases and one death. The seven-day average has risen since mid-June, when more than 8,500 cases were recorded in the past week.

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