Singapore Says Delta Covid Wave Subsiding as Hospital Load Eases
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore has seen a sharp drop in Covid community cases over the last month, along with significant easing in local hospitals.
Singapore logged 638 cases in the community on Dec. 6, more than 400 below the same day last week and less than half what it was two weeks ago. The weekly infection rate has been below 1, indicating cases are declining, for the last 24 days. It’s currently at 0.64, the second-fastest week/week drop in cases since data was made available.
The Ministry of Health says it will end its daily press releases on infection statistics from Dec. 7 “as the current wave of delta infections subsides,” though it will still update the same infection statistics on its website daily. Those press statements, released near midnight daily, have been closely watched for trends to indicate whether Singapore might tighten or ease measures.
Singapore has one of the world’s best vaccination rates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 87% of the total population is fully vaccinated, while 96% of those eligible are fully inoculated. Some 28% have also received booster jabs. Government officials have said jabs for those age 5-11 will be offered soon.
The country has stuck to a path of slowly easing its Covid restrictions, which remain among the world’s toughest. Work from home remains the default, groups are limited to a maximum of five at a time, and masks are required almost everywhere outside the home. The government has said it won’t ease further at this time, citing the potential omicron threat.
Singapore increased testing for inbound vaccinated travelers and has restricted travel from southern Africa to ward off the import of omicron. The city-state hasn’t had a community case of the omicron variant yet, though two people flying in from South Africa have been confirmed to have the new variant, while a third is suspected of it. All three are in isolation.
For now, Singapore’s Covid trends are encouraging along every metric the city-state tracks, including the utilization rate of its ICU beds. Thanks to added capacity and decreased need, there are now more open ICU beds in Singapore than there are full ones, the first time that’s happened since data became available.
Singapore says 98.7% of those who tested positive for Covid over the last four weeks are either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms. At the hospitals, patients needing oxygen are half of last month’s levels, while hospitalizations are at the lowest level since Sept. 17.
The health ministry said it will continue to monitor the week-on-week infection growth ratio to get a sense of how quickly the virus is spreading in the community.
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