Just as Singapore settles into a new endemic era, new Covid-19 mutations continue to throw stones into a still pond.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has detected three cases infected with new variants of concern in the community. Two caught the Omicron BA.4 variant, while the other has the BA.5 variant.
The cases were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, such as fever, cough, sore throat, and flu. They did not need hospitalisation.
Here’s a summary of the latest Covid-19 update on Sunday (15 May).
According to MOH, the affected individuals are confirmed to be the first community cases infected with the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, classified as variants of concern by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
The cases, all fully vaccinated and boosted, were picked up via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.
Thankfully, they did not require hospitalisation as they were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.
Upon testing positive for Covid-19, they quickly isolated themselves and were not exposed to high-risk settings.
MOH said South Africa first reported the new Omicron variants at the start of 2022. They later went on to become the dominant variants there.
There are mutations in the spike protein of both variants, which may offer them “greater immune escape properties”, making them highly transmissible compared to BA.1 and BA.2.
Their predecessors were responsible for the Omicron wave in Singapore in early 2022.
However, MOH warned that there is growing evidence that BA.4 and BA.5 infections would potentially cause similar outcomes.
As of 11 May 2022, at least 1,000 cases of BA.4 and BA.5 were reported in 16 countries. But according to CNBC, the actual number of infections is likely higher as countries aren’t actively sequencing Covid-19 cases now.
Considering the threat of another Omicron wave in Singapore, MOH said they would step up local surveillance efforts. They also recommended those vulnerable to Covid-19 complications to ensure they have received their recommended boosters.
Caution is highly advised in settings with potential contacts.
As countries gradually relax their Covid-19 measures, new variants emerge, bringing fresh dangers of yet another Covid-19 wave in communities.
Vaccination and boosters remain everyone’s best bet in the ceaseless fight against the virus. Even if it can’t be 100% preventable, we stand a better chance of getting milder symptoms than before.
While we enjoy our newfound freedom after two years of restrictions, don’t forget that Covid-19 is still around. Exercise caution, and continue to mask up when you should.
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Featured image by MS News.
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OMG. Wish we had such luck too.