7 more COVID-19 deaths, 3,994 new cases in Singapore; MOH monitoring whether 'post-weekend surge' is temporary
SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 3,994 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Tuesday (Oct 19) as seven more people died from complications due to the virus.
This is an increase from the 2,553 new cases reported on Monday. It is the first time in four days that new infections have risen.
"There is a usual post-weekend surge in cases today," said the Ministry of Health (MOH), adding that it will have to "closely monitor cases for the next few days, to determine if this is a temporary spike or a further surge in infections".
"Nevertheless, over the past week, we have observed a rise in activity levels, including a higher number of visitors across all malls, larger crowds in the Orchard Road area, as well as a slight increase in public transport ridership," said MOH.
Among the new cases, 3,981 are locally transmitted, comprising 3,480 infections in the community and 501 in migrant workers' dormitories.
Thirteen are imported cases, MOH said in its daily update released to media at about 10.40pm.
The ministry said the number of unvaccinated seniors above the age of 60 who have been infected has risen over the past few days, to "well over 100" a day, and that these seniors are at risk of falling very sick.
"The number of persons requiring ICU care continues to rise, and this has put our hospitals under significant pressure and strain," said MOH.
The ministry said it "strongly" encourages everyone, especially the elderly and people with comorbidities who are more vulnerable to severe illnesses, to limit social activities and go out only for essential activities.
SEVEN MORE FATALITIES
The fatalities are five men and two women aged between 57 and 90 years. Three of them were unvaccinated against COVID-19, one was partially vaccinated and three were fully vaccinated.
Six of the cases had various underlying medical conditions. MOH did not specify what these conditions were. One unvaccinated case had no known medical conditions.
This brings Singapore's death toll from the coronavirus to 246.
As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 154,725 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic.
HOSPITALISATIONS AND HOME RECOVERY
Among all COVID-19 community cases that have been onboarded or admitted, 16,377 patients, or 71.9 per cent, are undergoing home recovery.
Another 3,812 are in community care facilities and 851 in COVID-19 treatment facilities.
The remaining 1,738 patients are warded in hospital, mostly for observation, said MOH. Of these, 338 patients need oxygen supplementation and 71 are in intensive care, more than the 67 in intensive care on Monday.
Over the last 28 days, out of 74,641 infected people, 1 per cent needed oxygen supplementation and 0.1 per cent were in intensive care.
Among those who needed oxygen supplementation or intensive care, 48.6 per cent were fully vaccinated and 51.4 per cent were unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
MOH said it was "closely monitoring" five active clusters.
The cluster at United Medicare Centre at Toa Payoh grew by four more cases to reach 132 infections. A majority of the cases - 113 - are residents.
The other three clusters at nursing homes are ECON Medicare Centre & Nursing Home at Buangkok View and Bukit Batok Home for the Aged, which added one case each, and St Andrew's Nursing Home at Taman Jurong, which added two cases.
Another cluster at MWS Christalite Methodist Home recorded four more cases for a total of 114 infections, of which 98 are residents.
NOT A "FLIP-FLOP"
While Singapore’s approach to dealing with COVID-19 may appear to be a "flip-flop" to some, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Monday said it has helped the country prevent the massive number of deaths that many countries have suffered.
"We did not take a purist 'zero COVID' or 'living with COVID' approach. We adopted an eradication strategy when our population was vulnerable, mainly last year and earlier part of this year," he said.
"After vaccines have given us a protective shield, we are opening up progressively, and avoiding a sudden lifting of all restrictions. Some may feel that this middle of the road approach is perhaps unclear, and may even appear to be a 'flip-flop'," he said.
"But it has helped us avert the massive deaths that many countries have suffered," he added.
"It is the correct approach for Singapore, and day by day, we are moving closer to the light at the end of the tunnel."
From Tuesday, Singapore is opening up to vaccinated travellers from eight more countries through the quarantine-free vaccinated travel lanes. The countries are: Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.