S’porean Severely Ill From Covid-19 After Returning From China, MOH Closely Watching Global Situation

Singaporean Severely Ill After Returning From China, MOH Ready To Reinstate Border Measures If Warranted

Singapore has been living with Covid-19 for a while now, as things seem to be getting back to normal.

However, this is not the case in countries like China, where the disease is spreading widely again.

This has affected at least one Singaporean, who become severely ill with Covid-19 after returning from China.

Source: Han Min T on Unsplash

In response, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said they’re closely watching the global situation.

Public concern over high level of infections in China

In a news release on Friday (30 Dec), MOH noted that China is “currently of particular concern”.

This is because they have been facing a high level of infections after relaxing their domestic Covid-19 restrictions.

The country has also recently relaxed their border restrictions, meaning arriving travellers wouldn’t have to quarantine from 8 Jan.

Source: zibik on Unsplash

This has led to public concern in Singapore.

700-1,000 travellers from China daily at Changi

Currently, between 700 and 1,000 travellers from China pass through Singapore’s airport per day, MOH said.

This makes up about 1-1.5% of total daily air arrivals.

At this point, the majority of them are Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning to Singapore.

All returning from China have mild symptoms, except severely ill S’porean

Among those returning from China, from 40 to 80 Covid-19 cases have been detected per week.

All of them had mild symptoms, MOH said.

However, one Singaporean was the exception.

That person unfortunately became severely ill after recent travel to China.

Returning travellers shouldn’t burden hospitals, no update on severely ill S’porean from China

No further update was given on the Singaporean’s condition, but MOH stressed that travellers should not add a significant burden to our hospitals.

Source: Google Maps

Thus, this will be kept in mind by the authorities as flights to China from Singapore are progressively restored.

Notably, Singapore Airlines (SIA) resumed flights to Beijing on Friday (30 Dec).

Singapore will take a cautious approach towards increasing seat capacity to China, taking into account the overall public health assessment, MOH said.

MOH closely watching Covid-19 situation worldwide

MOH is also closely watching the Covid-19 situation worldwide.

They acknowledged that countries like India, Italy, Japan, and the United States (US) are rolling out new testing requirements for all travellers coming from China.

However, Singapore hasn’t done so yet.

The ministry also noted that many other countries haven’t announced entry restrictions against Chinese travellers, including those in Southeast Asia and Europe, as well as Australia and New Zealand.

That doesn’t mean we’re not doing anything, as we have retained some border measures.

For example, non-fully vaccinated travellers entering Singapore still must take a pre-departure test two days before departure. All travellers are required to submit a health declaration upon arrival.

Source: Changi Airport on Facebook

While these measures will remain, Singapore also stands ready to reinstate border health measures for selected countries if warranted by the public health situation, they added.

No new variants detected in China

Thankfully, no new variants have been detected among those currently circulating in China, MOH assured.

The strains in China are known ones, with nothing identified that’s more contagious or severe than previously identified subvariants.

This is based on the sequencing results from various Chinese cities submitted by their Centres for Disease Control, they said.

Singapore has been working with international partners to monitor the variants circulating globally.

Our own genomic surveillance is also conducted on our local and imported cases.

Singapore in stronger position to live with Covid-19: MOH

Ultimately, we cannot completely stop infections, MOH conceded.

What we can do, however, is make sure our infections result in few cases of hospitalisations and severe illness.

Since the XBB wave, Singapore’s situation has remained stable, the ministry said, giving a few rough figures:

  1. Seven-day moving average of local cases: 729
  2. Number of Covid-19 related hospitalisations: below 100
  3. Covid-19-related patients in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU): single digits

Together with vaccines and new Covid-19 Treatment Facilities and expanded Transitional Care Facilities, Singapore is in a stronger position to live with Covid-19, MOH said.

As we already have “high community hybrid immunity”, Singaporeans are becoming more resilient with each wave, they added.

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Featured image adapted from Han Min T on Unsplash.

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