In the past months, Singaporeans have seen how Covid-19 has infected more and more people around us as the Omicron wave peaks here.
Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday (9 Mar), Health Minister Ong Ye Kung shared that the Omicron wave has peaked and is subsiding.
Despite this, clinics and hospitals continue to be under pressure, and Minister Ong said the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been doing their best to support them.
Nonetheless, he hopes healthcare workers will soon get a well-deserved lasting respite.
During the Budget 2022 debate on 9 Mar, Minister Ong said there are now good indications that Singapore’s Omicron wave has peaked. The number of cases is now starting to decline.
Minister Ong then gave a tribute to healthcare workers who have “toiled and fought” against Covid-19 for over 2 years.
He added that even as he was speaking in Parliament, they keep our population safe and ensure life in Singapore can go on normally.
Minister Ong then said he hopes healthcare workers will finally get a lasting respite “not too long from now”.
Despite the number of cases tapering down, the Omicron wave is still putting pressure on our healthcare resources.
According to The Straits Times (ST), there were 1,499 Covid-19 patients hospitalised as of 8 Mar. Of this, 190 required oxygen, 49 needed intensive care, and 15 had died.
On 9 Mar, Singapore reported 17,051 cases. 2 weeks ago on 23 Feb, the number of cases stood at 20,312.
Throughout this time, Minister Ong said MOH has been doing whatever they can to support workers.
This includes ensuring there is sufficient Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), prioritising them for vaccinations, and moving as many patients as possible out of hospitals into facilities.
Much of the pressure faced by healthcare workers and hospitals is due to unvaccinated patients.
Senior Minister of State for Health Dr Janil Puthucheary said only 3% of our adult population are not fully vaccinated. However, they account for 25% of ICU cases and deaths.
Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) were put in place to protect unvaccinated individuals, and this is why Singapore cannot lift existing measures now.
Dr Janil said this in response to calls for the VDS to be eased.
Dr Koh Poh Koon, also Senior Minister of State for Health, shared that Singapore has sufficient resources to step up ICU beds significantly.
So far, this was not needed as the Omicron patients needing ICU care have been only a fraction of that of Delta patients.
Nonetheless, given how unpredictable the pandemic is, Dr Koh assured MOH will continue making contingency plans.
We are glad that MOH has been ensuring Singaporeans get the care they need whilst constantly deliberating long-term plans for the country.
In February, Minister Ong said restrictions may ease once the surge has peaked and subsided.
Hopefully, in time to come, Singaporeans get to enjoy greater freedoms safely as case numbers continue to fall.
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Featured image adapted from Gov.sg on YouTube and Ong Ye Kung on Facebook.
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