Percentage Of Infections Detected Under Quarantine Has Risen, Means Less Chance Of Spread: Health Minister
Singapore has been under tightened restrictions since 16 May, due to a resurgence in Covid-19 community cases.
It’s been 3 weeks already, and Singaporeans are probably curious to know if the pain has been worth it.
To that end, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has given us the news that we’ve been waiting for: Singapore’s heading in the right direction.
The percentage of unlinked cases this week has fallen since the week before, he said, showing a definite improvement in the situation.
Unlinked cases dropped from 18%-15%
Mr Ong’s update came in a Facebook post on Sunday (6 Jun) night – 3 weeks after Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) started.
He compared the last 7 days of infection figures with that of the week before, and they’ve dropped across the board.
Most encouraging, the minister said, is the fact that the percentage of unlinked cases has dropped from 18% to 15%.
Infection figures can be broken down into 3 parts
A week ago, on 31 May, Mr Ong spoke about the infection figures at a press conference of the Multi-Ministry Task Force.
While most would just look at the total number of cases, to see the trend it’s useful to break them down into 3 parts:
- Cases that were quarantined before detection
- Cases that were not quarantined before detection, but linked to clusters
- Unlinked cases
(1) is probably the “safest” kind of infection, as there’s little chance of it spreading to the community.
(3) is however the most worrying, Mr Ong said. That’s probably because it means the virus is still lurking around the community, infecting people, as we don’t know where the unlinked case got infected.
Week-to-week trend is encouraging
A handwritten chart posted by Mr Ong illustrated the week-to-week trend of infections since Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) started on 16 May.
And the results are encouraging indeed.
In terms of total infections, there’s been a marked drop: From 182 in Week 1 (17-23 May) to 136 in Week 2 (24-30 May), and then 116 in Week 3 (31 May-6 Jun).
While the percentage of cases detected in quarantine was the same (57%) in Weeks 1 & 2, it rose significantly to 73% in Week 3.
Mr Ong explained why that’s good news: That means a bigger portion of the cases detected had very little chance of going around and infecting others.
Steady drop in unlinked cases
The minister was happiest to see the trend in the 3rd kind of cases.
In Week 1, 22% of the cases were unlinked.
That figure dropped to 18% in Week 2.
Week 3 saw a further drop to 15%.
The steady drop means there’s a fewer proportion of cases from unknown infection sources.
That also means that while the virus is still circulating in the community, it’s not as rampant as 3 weeks before.
Thus, Mr Ong’s declaration that we’re heading in the right direction is certainly valid.
Measures seemed to be working since Week 1
To be sure, there was an indication that the measures were working even at the end of Week 1.
On 22 May, Mr Ong said that because of the tighter measures, Covid-19 infections had not spiked but rather had stabilised.
This was in contrast to the situation in other countries that had no precautions – cases would double every week.
On Vesak Day (26 May), Finance Minister Lawrence Wong posted on Instagram that “our combined efforts are working”.
During the press conference on 31 May, Mr Wong again said that the tightened measures were working. However, it was not time to relax yet.
Best results yet in end of Week 3
Towards the end of Week 3, we saw our best results yet. Community cases went down to the single digits with 7 on Friday (4 Jun), the lowest since 10 May.
On Saturday (5 Jun), we had 13 community cases but zero unlinked cases.
Most recently, just 6 community cases were reported on Sunday (6 Jun).
Keep up the good work
It’s certainly heartening that all the effort Singaporeans have put in has been fruitful, and contributed to an improved Covid-19 situation.
Mr Ong has urged us to keep up the good work – if this sustains, we can look forward to an easing of measures after 13 Jun.
There’s just 1 week more to the end of Phase 2 (Heightened Alert), so let’s all do our part and we can get through this again.
Have news you must share? Get in touch with us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Featured image adapted from Facebook and MS News.