SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 662 new COVID-19 cases and four deaths linked to the coronavirus as of noon on Monday (Dec 6).
The fatalities were aged between 81 and 97. All had various underlying medical conditions. The Ministry of Health (MOH) did not specify what these conditions were.
This brings Singapore's death toll from the coronavirus to 763.
Two imported cases who were reported as preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant on Dec 2 have been confirmed to be infected with the variant, said MOH.
The National Public Health Laboratory has completed whole genome sequencing for Cases 271487 and 271598 and confirmed their infection with Omicron, said the ministry.
Both cases are fully vaccinated and have "mild symptoms" of cough and scratchy throat, said MOH.
It added that both cases were isolated upon arrival in Singapore on Dec 1, and had not interacted in the community.
The overall intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation rate is 48 per cent, down from 51.2 per cent on Sunday.
NO MORE DAILY PRESS RELEASES
MOH said it will stop issuing daily press releases on infection statistics from Tuesday, "as the current wave of Delta infections subsides".
The ministry will continue to update the same infection statistics on the MOH website on a daily basis. These include the hospital capacity, status of COVID-19 patients, vaccination progress and number of cases.
MOH noted that one of the statistics being monitored is the week-on-week infection growth ratio.
"During the present wave of infection, we wanted to ensure that the ratio was below 1 before we eased any restrictions," said MOH.
"As the present wave subsides and infection numbers start to stabilise, we can expect the ratio to trend towards 1. We will continue to monitor this indicator to get a sense of how quickly the virus is spreading in the community.
"For example if the ratio were to rise rapidly beyond 1 on a sustained basis, then it would mean an acceleration in the spread of infection, and potentially the start of a new wave of transmission."
MOH added that it will continue to update the public on "significant developments, including information on the Omicron variant", through regular media statements.
WEEKLY INFECTION GROWTH RATE
The weekly infection growth rate fell to 0.64 from Sunday's 0.66. This refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before.
The growth rate has remained below 1 since Nov 13. A figure below 1 means that the number of new weekly COVID-19 cases is falling.
The daily case count on Monday is up from the 552 infections reported on Sunday.
Among the new cases, 651 are locally transmitted, comprising 638 infections in the community and 13 cases in migrant workers' dormitories.
The remaining 11 are imported cases, MOH said in its daily update released to the media at about 11.30pm.
As of Sunday, Singapore has reported 269,873 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
HOSPITALISATIONS AND VACCINATIONS
There are 850 COVID-19 cases warded in hospital. Of these, 142 require oxygen supplementation in general wards, six are unstable and under close monitoring in the ICU, and 47 are critically ill and intubated in the ICU.
A total of 1,198 cases were discharged over the past day, of whom 182 are seniors aged 60 and above.
As of Sunday, 96 per cent of the eligible population in Singapore - those aged 12 and above - have completed their full regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. About 28 per cent have received their booster shots.
The Health Ministry said a large cluster at THK Home for Disabled @ Sembawang grew by four cases, bringing the total to 48. The cluster was first reported by MOH on Saturday.
The infections in the home currently involve 46 residents and two staff members.
OMICRON MAY POSE HIGHER REINFECTION RISK
In an update on the Omicron variant on Sunday, MOH said that early clinical observations globally suggest that the variant may be more transmissible and may also be associated with a higher risk of reinfection compared to the Delta and Beta variants of the virus.
While studies on whether existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the new variant are ongoing, "there is an emerging view amongst scientists around the world that existing COVID-19 vaccines will still work on the Omicron variant, especially in protecting people against severe illness", the ministry added.
The ministry said it has, over the past several days, reviewed reports from South Africa and other countries, and actively engaged experts in affected countries to obtain first-hand information.