The growing Covid-19 cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) is the result of the new and more transmissible variants of the virus, Ministry of Health (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak said at a press conference on Tuesday, May 4.
However, Covid-19 vaccination has provided protection.
Associate Professor Mak said more cases of the Covid-19 variants from around the world have been detected here.
These include the B.1351 variant that originated in South Africa, the P.1 variant that originated in Brazil and the new B16172 India variants pinpointed to be very likely behind the devastating second wave in India.
Variant of virus in TTSH cluster
Singapore has already seen seven cases in three local clusters found with the B16172 India variant.
This is including five cases that are part of the Tan Tock Seng cluster. Of which, one is a nurse and one is a doctor who attended to the patients.
The TTSH cluster is currently Singapore's first hospital cluster and also the biggest and most active affecting 40 staff, patients and their relatives.
Education Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the ministerial task force combating the virus, said: "The new variant strains have higher attack rates. They are more infectious and causing larger clusters than before. We must assume that there are still hidden cases out there in the community."
Vaccination provided protection
However, Mak said the situation would have been worse if people did not get vaccinated.
This is despite vaccination not preventing a person from getting the disease.
Nine people out of the 40 cases in the TTSH cluster had been fully vaccinated.
These cases are mostly staff and most had no symptoms or only mild symptoms.
Those who were not vaccinated require oxygen therapy, Mak also said.
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