3,155 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as MOH starts including milder infections in daily case count
SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 3,155 new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Friday (Jan 21), comprising 2,794 local infections and 361 imported ones.
The surge in the number of new cases, considering Thursday's figure was just 1,472, is due to the inclusion of the number of Protocol 2 cases in its daily updates, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Earlier on Friday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said during a multi-ministry task force news conference that reporting the number of Protocol 2 cases would give "a better picture of the epidemic situation in Singapore and which part of the curve we are on".
Protocol 2 cases are individuals who are well and tested positive, or have been assessed by a doctor to have a mild condition. Two sets of numbers will be reported every day - one for the infections confirmed by PCR tests, and another for the Protocol 2 cases.
There was one fatality, according to the latest infection statistics on the MOH website. This takes the death toll from coronavirus complications to 846.
The weekly infection growth rate is 2.70, up from Thursday's 2.17. A figure above 1 means that the number of new weekly cases is rising.
A total of 1,539 new Protocol 2 infections were confirmed on Friday, comprising 23 imported cases and 1,516 local cases. Another 1,616 cases were confirmed by polymerase chain reaction test (PCR), which were made up 1,278 local infections and 338 imported ones.
As of Thursday, Singapore has recorded 307,813 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
Case numbers have been backdated to Jan 6 when GPs started to order Protocol 2, for the purposes of calculating the total number of infections in Singapore as well as the week-on-week increase in infection numbers.
HOSPITALISATIONS AND VACCINATIONS
There are 360 patients in hospital, with 19 requiring oxygen supplementation. Thirteen patients are in the intensive care unit.
As of Thursday, 91 per cent of Singapore's eligible population have completed their full vaccination regimen under the national vaccination programme.
About 54 per cent of the total population have received their vaccine booster shots.
As vaccinations are "working well" and with the Omicron variant being less severe, Mr Ong said on Friday that the top line infection number has become "less and less meaningful" in Singapore's response to COVID-19.
The more important statistics are in the bottom line, he said, before adding: "How many people are severely ill, needing oxygen supplementation? How many is in ICU care? How many died?"
Mr Ong added that MOH would stop differentiating between Omicron and non-Omicron infections in its daily updates, as Omicron has "clearly dominated" the current infection wave.