Singapore to ramp up plans to handle 5,000 daily new COVID cases: Ong Ye Kung

25-Sep-2021 Intellasia | Yahoo News Singapore | 7:05 AM Print This Post

Singapore will start ramping up plans to be ready to handle 5,000 daily new COVID-19 cases, said Health minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (24 September), amid an ongoing coronavirus surge here that is rising much quicker than projected.

His comments at a virtual media conference by the multi-ministry COVID-19 taskforce come after Singapore registered two consecutive days of record-high of new cases: 1,457 on Wednesday and followed by 1,504 on Thursday.

Singapore is expected to hit 3,200 new cases in eight days as it enters the “fifth doubling cycle”, said the taskforce co-chair.

“Whether it gallops there, or whether it slows down and reaches there slowly this is something we need to observe. What we do know is that no transmission wave lasts forever,” Ong noted, adding that despite strict safe management measures in place, “the Delta variant doesn’t follow our script”.

“It transmitted through the community and is driving up daily cases much more quickly than we expected before our ramped-up plans are fully implemented before our support systems are fully in place,” he added.

With the increase in ICU bed capacity and resources assigned to the home recovery programme at a faster pace, Singapore’s healthcare system can cope with 2,000 to 2,500 new cases a day but it will be “quite stretched”, Ong said.

At about 1,600 daily new cases currently, Singapore is at about 26 infections per 100,000 population per day.

“This is lower than what is experienced in the UK and the US now, which are seeing about 40 to 50 cases, but higher than many other European countries seeing about seven to 10 cases, that have reached an equilibrium, such as Germany, France, Italy, Spain, said Ong.

The exponential rise in infections over a very short period of time during the Preparatory Stage in place since 19 August has put Singapore’s healthcare system and workers under tremendous pressure and stress, Ong said.

Currently, over 40 per cent of cases are on the home recovery programme with the proportion rising, which helps ease the burden on the healthcare system, he noted.

Finance minister and co-chair Lawrence Wong thanked Singaporeans for minimising social activities to put a brake on the transmission of the virus.

“Unfortunately, despite our collective efforts, the virus continues to gain ground,” he said, adding that numbers will continue to rise.

“In other words, we are not going back to a scenario of low daily cases anymore. It’s not going to be possible because we are moving forward to learn to live with the virus.”

Wong stressed that the reproduction rate of the contagious Delta variant without any safe management measures in place is “easily around five or six”.

“We were able to bring the (natural) reproduction rate…down to about 1.5. That’s already a significant reduction,” he added. But even so, cases are still doubling every week or so, Wong stressed.

“That’s the reality and to bring it further down requires a lot more effort.”


Category: Singapore

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