Surge of over 10,000 weekly Covid-19 cases in S'pore, MOH says it's driven by XBB subvariants

Covid-19 infection waves are expected "from time to time", said MOH.

Syahindah Ishak | April 12, 2023, 06:10 PM

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There was an estimated number of 28,410 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore in the week of Mar. 26 to Apr. 1, 2023, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH)'s weekly official statistics.

This is nearly double the number of cases as in the previous week, which saw an estimated 14,467 cases.

It is also the highest number of cases in the country so far this year.

The number of hospital and ICU admissions also reached a high on epidemiological week 13, with 339 in total, as compared to 267 in the previous week.

CNA reported that clinics in Singapore are seeing more cases, with most Covid-19 patients showing mild symptoms.

Current wave driven by XBB subvariants

Responding to queries from Mothership, MOH said that the current Covid-19 infection wave is driven by a mix of XBB subvariants, including XBB.1.5, XBB.1.9 and XBB.1.16.

There is currently no evidence of increased severity of the cases, the ministry added.

MOH also clarified that while there is an increase in the estimated number of Covid-19 cases week on week, the average daily Covid-19 hospitalised cases is "rising at a slower pace".

The number of ICU cases has remained low in recent weeks, with a decrease in Covid-19 ICU cases in epidemiological week 13 (Mar. 26 to Apr. 1, 2023) compared to epidemiological week 12 (Mar. 19 to Mar. 25, 2023).

"We continue to expect new Covid-19 infection waves from time to time, similar to other endemic respiratory diseases such as influenza, and are closely monitoring the local situation," said MOH.

MOH advised the public to keep up to date with their Covid-19 vaccination.

"In particular, vulnerable groups such as residents aged 60 and above, medically vulnerable persons and those living in aged care facilities are strongly encouraged to receive a booster vaccine dose around one year after their last booster dose.

Those with acute respiratory infection symptoms should wear a mask if they have to leave home, and reduce their social interactions, especially with vulnerable persons.

Vulnerable persons with mild symptoms should seek care at selected Public Health Preparedness Clinics for consideration of use of antiviral therapy."

Relaxed Covid measures and resumption of travel

Doctors have attributed the recent surge in Covid-19 cases to the easing of measures and the resumption of travel, CNA reported.

At the Multi-Ministry Taskforce's final press conference in February 2023, it was announced that the wearing of masks would no longer be mandatory in public transport.

Singapore also adjusted its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level from Yellow to Green.

Border restrictions have also relaxed, and there are no longer any Covid-19 measures for travellers arriving in Singapore from Feb. 13, 2023, regardless of vaccination status or traveller profile.

Top image by Andrew Koay.