In response to a significant surge in COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Singapore is intensifying efforts to control the spread of the virus. The latest data revealed a substantial increase in weekly infections, with the majority of cases attributed to the JN.1 variant, a sub-lineage of the Omicron variant. However, the MOH emphasizes that there is currently no clear evidence suggesting increased transmissibility or severity associated with these variants.
To address the escalating situation, the MOH is implementing urgent measures and recommendations. These include encouraging the wearing of masks in crowded settings, particularly indoors and around vulnerable individuals, and advising individuals with acute respiratory infection symptoms to stay at home. Travelers are also advised to adopt precautionary measures.
To preserve healthcare capacity, the MOH is working closely with public hospitals on contingency planning. This includes ensuring adequate manpower, deferring non-urgent electives, and utilizing alternative care models like Transitional Care Facilities and Mobile Inpatient Care@Home.
Acknowledging the strain on healthcare resources, the MOH announced the opening of a second COVID-19 Treatment Facility (CTF) at Singapore Expo Hall 10. This facility aims to accommodate stable patients not in need of intensive hospital care. The existing CTF at Crawford Hospital will provide crucial support for patients affected by the virus.
Starting from December 19, the MOH will transition from weekly to daily updates on the estimated number of COVID-19 cases. This shift aims to provide more precise and timely information considering the evolving nature of the current surge. The new reporting method takes into account various factors, including the number of ARI attendances at polyclinics and the proportion of polyclinic ARI samples testing positive for COVID-19.
Analyzing the surge in cases, the data shows a significant increase in the number of cases and hospitalizations compared to the previous week. The JN.1 variant is responsible for the majority of infections. However, the MOH emphasizes that there is currently no clear evidence suggesting increased transmissibility or severity associated with these variants.
Vaccination remains a critical aspect in preventing severe illness. The MOH highlights lower hospitalization rates among those who are fully vaccinated and encourages the public, especially individuals aged 60 and above and medically vulnerable persons, to receive the updated COVID-19 vaccines.
With the shift to daily updates, the MOH aims to provide a more accurate and timely picture of the evolving COVID-19 situation in Singapore. Public cooperation and adherence to health guidelines are crucial in combating the virus. The MOH urges everyone to play their part in protecting themselves and their families, especially seniors and medically vulnerable persons.