Ong Ye Kung Says ‘Not Quite’ True That Covid-19 Situation Is ‘Getting Very Bad’ Now

With more unlinked community cases getting picked up every day, the gravity of the Covid-19 situation in Singapore is weighing on many people’s minds.

The worry isn’t entirely unwarranted, especially since residents of 2 HDB blocks in Hougang and Pasir Ris needed to undergo swab tests.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung took to Facebook to assuage the concerns of Singaporeans, saying that it’s “not quite” true that the Covid-19 situation is “getting very bad” now.

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He added that we should, instead, feel safer when we hear of mass testing ops. This means that authorities can detect and isolate cases early.

Ong Ye Kung address Covid-19 situation in Facebook post

On Sunday (23 May), Minister Ong answered some commonly asked questions about Singapore’s current Covid-19 situation in a Facebook post.

One of them is,

I heard [the] situation is getting very bad. Is that true?

To this, Minister Ong says, “Not quite, we are hovering around the same number since 16 May”.

He used the graph below – which captures the 3-day moving averages of total community cases and unlinked community cases from 16-21 May – as reference.

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He stressed that they are monitoring the situation closely to see if the trend goes upwards, downwards, or stays flat.

Special testing ops are effective in preventing spread

Minister Ong also addressed another question, which asked,

But we are doing so much special ops, going to HDB blocks to test people. That must be bad?

On the contrary, he said testing is an effective way to prevent further spread. Hence, Singaporeans should feel safer when they hear more testing operations are being conducted.

They help us detect and isolate people early, including persons who are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic and would otherwise be missed.

He added that authorities would be carrying out even more testing and surveillance moving forward.

Vaccinations are effective in preventing infections

Some may also question the efficacy of Covid-19 vaccines, considering how there are fully vaccinated individuals who tested positive for the virus.

I heard many vaccinated people are infected and no point getting vaccinated. Is that true?

Minister Ong says no, this isn’t true. For the current outbreak, 78 vaccinated individuals are infected, and most of them are frontline workers.

This is in comparison to 300 unvaccinated infections. According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), this represents a ratio of 79% unvaccinated cases vs 21% vaccinated ones.

“International studies continue to show that vaccinations are very effective in preventing infections and severe illnesses,” he noted.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong echoed the sentiment in a separate Facebook post, citing a UK study that proves vaccines are still highly effective against the B.1.617 variant.

See a doctor immediately if unwell

One last question Minister Ong responded to was,

I heard the new B.1.617 variant is airborne and very contagious. Is that true?

He said Covid-19 has always been spread through droplets and aerosols in the air, and the same goes for the B.1.617 variant.

Many factors could pose transmission risks, but Minister Ong said limited airflow and poor ventilation worsens the spread.

He pointed out that most infections occur in enclosed spaces with close interactions without masks, so authorities decided to close restaurants and big gatherings.

Many infections now could actually come from home. As such, he stressed,

To protect your family members, see a doctor immediately if unwell.

Everyone has a role to play in the fight against Covid-19

Singaporeans are undoubtedly growing more worried about the Covid-19 situation here. It’s helpful that ministers are taking the time to acknowledge these concerns on social media.

We may have tons of questions on our minds, but for now, let’s allow the authorities to do their jobs.

Meanwhile, every one of us has a part to play in Singapore’s battle against Covid-19. Stay home, only leave the house for essential activities, and seek medical attention right away when you have symptoms.

Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at hello@mustsharenews.com.

Featured image adapted from CNA via YouTube and Desmond Tan on Facebook.