S’pore May Face Next Covid-19 Wave In Jul Or Aug, Hospitals To Make More Beds Available

Ong Ye Kung Says The Next Covid-19 Wave Could Hit Singapore In A “Matter Of Months”

The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in Singapore has made it feel like things have (almost) gone back to the pre-pandemic days.

Crowds and large events are back, travelling is easier, and offices are filled with workers again. However, we must not be complacent, as Health Minister Ong Ye Kung dutifully reminds us.

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

With Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5 currently ripping through South Africa, Mr Ong estimates that the next wave will hit Singapore in a “matter of months, maybe July, maybe August”.

To prepare for this possibility, steps are being taken to ensure that healthcare settings are able to handle more patients.

Seniors aged 60 and above should also be encouraged to get their booster shots if they are eligible for them.

Singapore could experience next Covid-19 wave in Jul or Aug

Speaking at the Ministry of Health (MOH)’s annual work plan seminar on Thursday (2 Jun), Mr Ong noted that South Africa is experiencing its fifth Covid-19 outbreak.

This is driven by two Omicron sub-variants, BA.4 and BA.5, which were first detected in Singapore on 15 May.

Mr Ong estimates that there will be a new wave of infections here in a “matter of months, maybe July, maybe August”, Channel NewsAsia (CNA) reports.

As such, it’s important for the country’s healthcare settings to be able to cope with this.

Mr Ong stressed that Singapore “cannot afford” to repeat what happened during the Omicron wave, where patients had to go to public hospitals because facilities couldn’t handle them.

“Every healthcare setting needs to be Covid-ready, to be able to handle your own infections, take care of them in situ,” The Straits Times (ST) quotes Mr Ong as saying. “Because with vaccination, most will recover uneventfully.”

Three ways to ramp up defences

Mr Ong highlighted three ways to make more hospital beds available and ensure that healthcare facilities can manage more patients.

Firstly, hospitals have started doing home care services. This frees up beds in the building while letting patients receive care at home at the same time.

Secondly, Singapore can increase the number of nursing home beds for long-term hospital patients, who tend to be waiting for nursing home places. This can help to relieve the burden on hospitals.

Thirdly, there needs to be a change in how community treatment facilities work. Previously, these facilities took in elderly patients who needed close monitoring but were in stable condition.

singapore next covid wave

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

Instead, Mr Ong said that such facilities must be able to take in patients that don’t require the same level of acute care as a public hospital.

Eligible seniors should get booster shots

In addition, Mr Ong called for more efforts to convince seniors aged 60 and above to get their booster jabs. ST reports that about 12% of people in this group have yet to do so.

singapore next covid wave

Source: Ong Ye Kung on Facebook

This is important because they are “the group that’s most vulnerable”, especially during a Covid-19 wave.

According to Mr Ong, there are still “quite a number of people going to ICU (intensive care unit) or dying”.

Good to be prepared

Now that we’re finally able to enjoy some freedom from pandemic restrictions, it would be really disappointing to have to go back to lockdowns and group size limits again.

Thankfully, the Government is working hard to try and foresee any unpleasant developments — and make sure the country is equipped to deal with them.

With the National Day Parade set to return in full swing, let’s hope that there won’t be a damper on the celebrations.

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