After the Christmas and New Year festivities, many Singaporeans faced up to the reality of going back to the office today.
So it’s probably time to resume focus on the seriousness of our Covid-19 situation.
To that end, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had some sobering news for us: An Omicron wave is imminent.
Singapore must be prepared for this, though the situation has been stable so far, he added.
A week ago, the Ministry of Health (MOH) assured us that cases of the Omicron Variant are expected to be less severe, hence they’ll ease up on health protocols for such cases.
However, Omicron is also more transmissible, so it’s bound to spread widely in Singapore.
In a Facebook post on Monday (3 Jan), the 1st weekday of 2022, Minister Ong revealed the extent to which the latest variant has infiltrated the community.
Omicron cases have “started to creep up”, currently making up 17% of our local cases, he said, adding,
This means an Omicron wave is imminent, and we need to be prepared for it.
Apart from that sombre warning, the minister at least also gave us some positive news.
The Delta Variant wave, which caused an unprecedented surge in cases last year, has subsided for now.
This can be concluded from our “stable” Covid-19 situation so far.
Over the past week, Singapore had 1,200 active local cases – compared with the height of the surge when it was 26,000.
Another indication of our stable situation is the number of Covid-19 patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), which is now around 20, Minister Ong said.
This is the lowest number of ICU cases in the last quarter.
It’s also compared with the peak, when about 170 Covid-19 cases were in the ICU.
As for deaths, they’re “thankfully low”, he added.
Minister Ong continued to point to vaccinations and boosters as a key response to the pandemic, saying 88% of our population had received at least 1 dose.
41% had received a booster, out of 70% eligible.
More than 20,000 children aged 9-11 got their 1st jab – equivalent to about half a cohort.
The minister expects new vaccine supplies to arrive this month, which will “strongly” see us through our booster and vaccination exercise.
While some may think the coming Omicron wave is foreboding, there may also be a silver lining to it.
Since majority of our population is vaccinated, and Omicron cases aren’t as severe, Singapore is arguably more prepared than ever for the new variant.
Hopefully, even as cases surge again, the actual number of severe cases and fatalities doesn’t really make an impact.
If that happens, we may be a step closer to living with Covid-19 and declaring it endemic.
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Featured image from MS News.
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