NCID director: Covid-19 status in S'pore 'serious', likely more dangerous than just before Circuit Breaker

This year, we are facing a threat from 'mutant strains'.

Tanya Ong | May 17, 2021, 01:41 PM

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According to Associate Professor at NTU Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine David Lye, the current Covid-19 status in Singapore is "likely more dangerous than just before circuit breaker last year".

Lye is also Director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

A Facebook post reproduced a message from Lye, which had also been circulating on WhatsApp, according to ST.

S'pore facing a threat from mutant strains

Lye said that there are currently many unlinked cases, which suggests that the community spread from the Changi Airport outbreak "may be wide and far".

The health ministry reported on May 16 that overall, that number of new cases in the community has increased from 39 cases in the week before to 131 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from 6 cases in the week before to 32 cases in the past week.

Referring to the huge dormitory outbreak in Singapore last year, Lye said that "2020 was bad", but thankfully, the outbreak could eventually be contained.

This year, we are facing a threat from "mutant strains" that have infected hospital and airport staff, despite masks and vaccination.

Given the "serious" situation, he urged everyone to stay at home, avoid crowded places and big groups, get vaccinated, and wear a mask even when they are walking in parks.

He also suggested going beyond the existing measures by forming "your small social bubble", where everyone in that bubble should refrain from socialising with others. For many people, this would be their "immediate family", he said.

Increase in community cases, unlinked cases also on the rise

On May 16, Singapore reported 38 new community Covid-19 infections, with 17 unlinked.

Current active clusters include Changi Airport Terminal 3, tuition centre Learning Point as well as Changi Prison Complex.

In response to a question from the media regarding calls to go back to a full circuit breaker, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a press conference on Sunday that the government will need to continue to "monitor the situation and come to a decision later".

The government is also considering giving "as many people as possible" one dose of Covid-19 vaccine first, so that more people can be protected.

Top photo via NCID, Getty Images.