Singapore Not Ruling Out Bringing Back Covid-19 Restrictions As XBB Cases Rise
Covid-19 cases are once again on the rise in Singapore, and authorities are not ruling out bringing back some restrictions, including mask-wearing.
In an update on the latest wave of XBB cases on Saturday (15 Oct), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said they are trying their “very best” not to disrupt the everyday lives of people.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) is closely monitoring the situation.
Rising Covid-19 cases due to XBB infections
During an MOH press conference on Saturday (15 Oct), Mr Ong addressed the rising number of Covid-19 cases due to the wave of XBB infections.
He elaborated that Singapore has never declared Covid-19 an endemic disease or no longer a social health threat as some other countries have.
Instead, Singapore has preferred to “let action and our lives speak for itself”.
Mr Ong noted that in every successive wave our country has gone through, authorities have relaxed safe measurement measures (SMM). Now, almost all measures have been dismantled.
In reality, Singapore is living as if Covid-19 were an endemic disease. After all, we are now riding out another wave without SMM.
Mr Ong stressed that Singapore would try its “very, very best” never to go back to the days of Circuit Breaker, Heightened Alert, or anything that would disrupt our normal lives.
Singaporeans urged to take precautions & update their vaccination
With that, Mr Ong urged Singapore residents to take personal responsibility and precautions as Covid-19 cases rise.
Test yourself, isolate yourself when you’re not feeling well, wear your mask if you don’t feel well.
According to CNA, Mr Ong also asked those that live with the elderly to protect them by wearing their mask. If infected, the current Protocol 1, 2, and 3 still apply.
Besides that, Mr Ong reminded people to get vaccinated if they are eligible.
On Friday (14 Oct), Singapore started administering the bivalent vaccine. About 4,200 vaccinations were completed.
For those above 50 who have not gotten all three vaccines or whose last vaccine was over five months ago, Mr Ong told them to consider walking into a joint testing and vaccination centre to get the Moderna bivalent vaccine.
He shared that he had gotten his jab, and this time, there were hardly any side effects.
Covid-19 measures will be brought back if necessary
Since cases were on the rise, hospitals have also restricted visitors.
In the update on Saturday (15 Oct), Mr Ong and Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak shared that hospital capacity is being ramped up. Hospitals should be able to manage the current Covid-19 wave.
As of now, Mr Ong said these are the measures the government has in place. However, should the situation worsen, more steps may be implemented in a way that “doesn’t disrupt our lives”.
The first obvious measure will be to “put back our masks, say indoor or indoor and outdoor” if the situation calls for it.
The next possibility would be the return of vaccine-differentiated measures, he said. These measures were previously lifted on 10 Oct.
But Mr Ong added that MOH is closely monitoring the XBB wave and its impact on the healthcare system to see if some of these measures are necessary.
As of now, no decision has been made yet.
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