Ong Ye Kung: S'pore's daily Covid-19 cases likely over 1,000 'soon', urges cutback on social activity

The current wave of infections is in its fourth doubling cycle, said health minister Ong, who is also a co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce.

Nigel Chua | September 17, 2021, 06:56 PM

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Health Minister and co-chair of the Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) Ong Ye Kung said on Sep. 17 that Singapore's daily Covid-19 case numbers are likely to cross the 1,000 mark soon.

The most recently reported number of daily cases was 910, on Thursday, Sep. 16.

Ong also urged people in Singapore to cut back on social activities, among other steps that should be taken to amid the current situation.

Current wave of infections now ongoing for 26 days and counting

Ong said that the current wave of infections has been ongoing for 26 days.

As per the MTF's expectations, daily cases have been doubling around every week, from 100 to 200, to 400, and then from 400 to 800.

"It is now in its fourth doubling cycle," said Ong.

He said that daily case numbers crossing the 1,000 mark would be "not unexpected", and that the transmission wave would typically peak between four and eight weeks, or between 30 to 50 days.

"Lets be prepared that we are likely to cross the [one] thousand mark soon," he said.

Ong said that Singapore was going through the current wave of infections at a time where about 80 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated, unlike other countries which "unfortunately" encountered similar situations earlier in the pandemic.

"There is no doubt that if our population had not come forward and vaccinated ourselves in big numbers, we would have seen numerous deaths by now, and our healthcare system would probably have been overwhelmed already," said Ong.

Instead, "we have avoided that thus far because of our very high vaccination coverage," he added.

He urged unvaccinated seniors to get the vaccine, and said that those invited to get vaccine booster shots should do so.

Ong also said that "all of us need to spontaneously, reduce our social interactions and activities."

"Cut back on social outings with friends and having dinners. Don't bring too many friends home. Avoid hopping from one shopping mall to another," he added.

Ong also reiterated advice for seniors to stay home as much as possible during this time, even if they have been vaccinated, due to their higher risk of severe illness.

He also urged "personal responsibility to self test and monitor our own health status", saying that about 90 per cent of all households would have received ART kits by Monday, as part of a nationwide distribution initiative.

2,000 cases in the next few weeks

Ong's fellow co-chair and finance minister Lawrence Wong said last week that Singapore "will probably get to 2,000 new cases a day" within a few weeks.

This, he said, called for "a more cautious approach in the current situation".

The MTF also announced on Sep. 17 that more of those who have Covid-19 would be able to recover at home, as those aged between 60 and 69 would be eligible to do so.

The move to have more recovering at home is to "help divert demand from hospitals", Ong explained, as the majority of the patients have no symptoms or mild symptoms.

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Top image via MCI

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