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Number of COVID-19 cases in current wave has peaked and is starting to come down: Ong Ye Kung

About 20 per cent of cases daily are reinfections, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Number of COVID-19 cases in current wave has peaked and is starting to come down: Ong Ye Kung

People are seen walking along Orchard Road in Singapore on Mar 29, 2022. (File photo: CNA/Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: Based on the last week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore has peaked and is starting to come down, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Sunday (Oct 23).

Singapore is in the middle of a COVID-19 wave driven by the XBB variant and reinfected cases. Currently, about one in five daily cases are reinfections.

“We have to continue to watch to see whether (the number of cases) bounces again, because it can happen,” Mr Ong told reporters on the sidelines of the launch of a sports hall in Bukit Canberra.

“But if it continues to come down from here, that means our modelling actually was a bit more pessimistic. We thought it would peak by the first half of November.”

If the downtrend sustains, that would mean that the wave peaked earlier than expected, the minister said, adding that people should still get vaccinated.

He said the recommendation is for seniors to take the new bivalent vaccine from Moderna because it is an “updated version” that is more effective against the current variant.

About 20,000 people aged 50 and above have taken the new vaccine.

Earlier this week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the bivalent vaccine would be offered to healthcare workers in the public and private sectors from Oct 25.

Children aged six months to four years can receive their primary vaccination with the Moderna/Spikevax vaccine from Oct 25.


Mr Ong also addressed a question about the long wait times for consultation and beds in hospitals.

Hospitals are seeing a high number of patients whose conditions do not require emergency care, the group chairmen of the medical boards of SingHealth, the National Healthcare Group and the National University Health System said on Friday night.

Mr Ong said on Sunday: “This is something that's been happening since the beginning of the year. It's not something new.”

While the hospitals are not seeing a lot more COVID-19 patients, more wards are taken up by such patients during a wave.

“So imagine before this wave, we have about 200 beds occupied. Now it is 600 plus, so 400 beds got taken out because of COVID-19 patients,” Mr Ong explained.

This means it is harder for emergency departments to refer patients to wards, making emergency departments more congested. He added that measures are being taken to help the situation.

Life continues to be “very hectic” in hospitals, said Mr Ong.

“Even while we carry on with our life and are happy that the COVID-19 situation has stabilised, remember we need to give healthcare workers our full support,” he added.

“These healthcare workers are old and young, men and women, of all seniorities, local and foreign – and foreign they're from many countries – they all deserve our support.

“We want them to stay as an integrated team – lift up their morale as much as possible, continue to show the love, care and support as we did at the height of the pandemic.”

As of noon on Sunday, 4,454 new cases were recorded. The week-on-week infection ratio was 0.88 – a number below 1 indicates that the number of new weekly COVID-19 cases is falling.

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Source: CNA/mi(kg)


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