Singapore reported its highest single-day Covid case total in over a year, despite 81% of the entire population being fully vaccinated. Excluding children under 12, it is 90% of the population.
The 837 cases recorded on Tuesday were the highest total in the new outbreak caused by Delta in Singapore so far. In response to the growing epidemic, the government has suspended plans to reopen and reimposed some restrictions.
As of Tuesday, 809 cases were hospitalized. Of these, 75 were critically ill and needed oxygen, and nine were in intensive care. The majority of critically ill patients were over 66, according to the health ministry.
Although the number of critically ill patients is quite low overall, it is increasing rapidly. The number of patients requiring oxygen doubled to 54 on Sunday from two days earlier, an important indicator in judging whether the medical system could be overwhelmed.
Four people have died in the past 28 days, all unvaccinated, according to the health ministry.
“In the past 28 days, the percentage of local cases that were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms is 98.1%. Of the 114 cases that required oxygen supplementation, 56 were not fully vaccinated and 58 were fully vaccinated. Of the eight who had been in intensive care, five were not fully immunized and three were fully immunized, ”the ministry wrote in its update Tuesday.
Lawrence Wong, finance minister and co-chair of the coronavirus task force, said last week that a key indicator in determining reopening measures would be the number of patients in intensive care units over the next two to four. weeks.
At present, there are 300 intensive care beds available, which could be increased to 1,000. If the numbers remain manageable, the country will resume its plans to reopen, he said.
The health ministry has also banned social gatherings at workplaces in response to clusters detected in staff canteens.
The new outbreak is being watched by other countries which have managed to keep the number of cases relatively low throughout the pandemic. The Australian Prime Minister said in July that an 80% vaccination rate (of the eligible population – not of the total population) would herald the end of statewide coronavirus lockdowns.
Dale Fisher, a professor at Singapore’s National Teaching Hospital for Infectious Diseases, told the ABC on Monday that the cases were “overall very mild” in Singaporeans who had been vaccinated.
“We’re kind of on the fence, but it’s clear you can’t just open the doors and say the vaccine will take care of us. It takes more than that, ”he said.
“In Singapore, it’s really about people becoming more comfortable with the number of cases and realizing that the increase in the number of cases does not translate into a significant increase in the number of hospitals, serious illnesses and death, ”he said.
“Obviously you’ve been saying to the public for a year and a half now, ‘Don’t catch Covid’, ‘but now the vaccinations mean’ We’re singing a different song ‘and trying to slow down the infections.
He added that although vaccination rates are high, at least 500,000 people remain unvaccinated, which can “damage your health system.” Australia would have the same concerns when it reached 80% vaccinations, he said. The state of New South Wales, which is the center of the current outbreak in Australia, reached a first dose rate of 80% on Wednesday.
In China, Putian, a city of 3.2 million people, ordered testing for all residents on Tuesday after Delta variant cases linked to a returnee from Singapore turned into a nationwide epidemic. province of more than 100 people.
Singapore is now considering a third injection for young adults and could start immunizing children early next year. This week he will begin boosters for the elderly and immunocompromised groups.
“If by offering booster shots to the general public, including young adults, Singapore is able to ease its restrictions more quickly, especially with regard to reopening Singapore’s borders, then it may be an existential decision that the government is forced to take, ”Teo Yik Ying said. , Dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.
– with Reuters