The recent wave of Covid-19 infections in Singapore is likely to subside further this week, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung said in Parliament on Aug. 1.
Ong said that the infection numbers have been falling in the past 10 days, and the week-on-week infection ratio has dipped below 0.9 in the past week.
As of July 31, 12pm, the week-on-week infection ratio is 0.87, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).
A figure below 1 indicates that the number of new weekly Covid-19 cases is falling.
Wave subsiding but healthcare system still under strain
“We should see the wave subsiding further this week,” Ong said.
While the government did not tighten social restrictions in this wave of Covid-19 infection, Ong highlighted the rise in Covid-19 cases has nevertheless caused a strain on our healthcare system.
"However, life is not as normal in our hospitals...Our healthcare system is bearing the brunt of the current wave. Healthcare workers have been very busy. Polyclinics and our general practitioner clinics also saw higher patient volumes," he said in Parliament.
About 60 per cent of people in Singapore had Covid-19
In response to a question filed by Member of Parliament (MP) Seah Kian Peng on the percentage of infected population, Ong estimated that about 60 per cent of residents in Singapore had caught Covid-19, based on reported cases and blood samples.
However, this does not mean that Singapore will develop a herd immunity against Covid-19, as the virus continues to mutate.
"By and large scientists around the world do not think herd immunity is achievable because the virus will continue to mutate, escape the protection of vaccines and then infect people."
Ong then emphasised the importance of vaccination for a population to weather through a Covid-19 wave, and managing the stress on healthcare system, as vaccination helps to prevent serious illness from an infection.
"What is achievable is population protection against severe illnesses through vaccinations, and this is what enables healthcare system to weather through an infection wave, even with high case numbers because the translation of case numbers into severe illnesses is very low."
MOH urges those aged 80 and above to get a second booster
Ong also revealed that the health ministry's empirical data of a 10-month period shows three doses of mRNA vaccines remain very strong in preventing severe illnesses.
This is why the ministry urged those who are 80 and above to receive their second booster or fourth shot of vaccine to increase their protection against severe illness caused by Covid-19.
"While the current wave is subsiding, and I think the worst is over, it is important that we do not be complacent," Ong said.
He added that cases will rise again as the virus evolves and circulates in socity, so Singapore will have to anticipate the next wave and take necessary precautions, which includes keeping vaccinations up to date.
Top image by Mothership