Singapore has reported its highest total number of Covid cases in one day in more than a year, despite 81% of the entire population being fully vaccinated. Excluding children under 12 years of age, it is 90% of the population.
The 837 cases recorded on Tuesday were the highest total in the new Delta-fueled outbreak in Singapore so far. In response to the growing outbreak, the government has halted reopening plans and has reimposed some restrictions.
As of Tuesday, 809 cases were in the hospital. Of these, 75 were seriously ill and required oxygen, and nine were in intensive care. Most of the seriously ill patients were over 66 years old, according to the Health Ministry.
Although the number of seriously ill patients is generally quite low, it is increasing rapidly. The number of patients requiring oxygen doubled to 54 on Sunday from the previous two days, an important indicator in judging whether the medical system could be overwhelmed.
Four people died in the last 28 days, all without vaccination, according to the Health Ministry.
“In the last 28 days, the percentage of local asymptomatic cases or with 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 the ICU, five were not fully vaccinated and three were fully vaccinated ”. the ministry wrote in its update on Tuesday.
Lawrence Wong, finance minister and co-chair of the coronavirus task force, said last week that a key indicator in determining reopening moves would be the number of patients in intensive care units over the next two to four weeks.
There are currently 300 ICU beds available, which could be increased to 1,000. If the numbers remain manageable, the country will resume reopening plans, he said.
The Health Ministry also banned social gatherings at workplaces in response to groups detected in staff canteens.
The new outbreak is being observed by other countries that have managed to keep the number of cases relatively low during the pandemic. Australia’s prime minister said in July that a vaccination rate of 80% (of the eligible population, not the total population) would herald the end of state lockdowns for coronavirus.
Dale Fisher, a professor at the National University of Singapore hospital who specializes in infectious diseases, told ABC on Monday that the cases were “generally very mild” in vaccinated Singaporeans.
“We are feeling our way, but it is clear that you cannot just open the doors and say that the vaccine will take care of us. It takes more than that, ”he said.
“In Singapore it’s really about people getting more comfortable with the number of cases and realizing that the increase in the number of cases does not translate into significantly more hospitals and serious illnesses and deaths,” he said.
“Obviously, you’ve been telling the public for a year and a half, ‘Don’t get Covid,’” but now the shots meant “We’re singing a different song” and trying to curb infections.
He added that although vaccination rates were high, at least 500,000 people remained unvaccinated, which may “take a toll on your health system.” Australia would have the same concerns when it achieved 80% vaccinations, he said. The state of New South Wales, which is the center of Australia’s current outbreak, reached a first dose rate of 80% on Wednesday.
In China, Putian, a city of 3.2 million people, ordered all residents to be tested on Tuesday after Delta’s variant cases linked to a Singapore returnee spiked into a province-wide outbreak. more than 100 people.
Singapore is now considering a third vaccine for younger adults and may begin inoculating children early next year. This week reinforcements will be launched for the elderly and immunosuppressed groups.
“If by offering booster injections to people, including young adults, Singapore can relax its restrictions faster, especially with regard to reopening Singapore’s borders, then this may be an existential decision that the government is forced to make. take, “said Teo Yik Ying. , Dean of the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.
– with Reuters