COVID-19 cases remained low amid Chinese New Year festivities: Ong Ye Kung
Daily recorded case numbers in the "low three digits" over the long weekend, dropping to 78 on Monday
SINGAPORE – Singapore's current COVID-19 situation has stabilised, with new daily cases remaining low even during the Chinese New Year holidays, according to Health Minister Ong Ye Kung.
The Straits Times reported Mr Ong as saying during the opening ceremony of the NTUC Health Jurong Spring nursing home on Friday (27 January) that daily recorded case numbers were in the "low three digits" over the long weekend, dropping to 78 on Monday.
"I know we no longer scrutinise (daily COVID-19) numbers like that, but over Chinese New Year, I looked at the numbers and the situation closely, and I think things are stabilised," Mr Ong said.
This is the first Chinese New Year celebration since pandemic restrictions were eased last year. Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had said in his New Year's Day message that if the COVID-19 situation continues to be stable after the year-end travel season and the infection wave in China, Singapore can look forward to making final adjustments to prevailing social restrictions,
Covid-19 cases over the weekend were in "low three digits"
Mr Ong pointed out that there has not been a daily COVID-19 infection rate in the double-digit range for quite some time, although he admitted this could be the result of public holidays.
The Straits Times reported him saying that that there was no spike in COVID-19 cases over the long weekend. The number of cases had reached 500 as of Thursday, but emergency departments in hospitals had managed to hold their ground.
The Health Minister said at the nursing home launch that, in addition to the pandemic delaying the opening of many nursing homes, hospital patients who required long-term care also could not be discharged to nursing homes to receive rehabilitation.
Mr Ong stated that this led to a crunch in hospital emergency departments, underscoring the importance of the entire healthcare ecosystem working together.
Low number of flights, no imported cases following China's reopening
The minister also noted that many in Singapore are concerned about China's reopening and whether surging infection numbers in the country will impact the city-state.
He had addressed in Parliament earlier this month that Singapore's COVID-19 measures are appropriate to prevent a surge of infections, and he reiterated the two key reasons why this is so at the nursing home launch.
First is the low number of flights between China and Singapore every week, meaning that imported cases coming in from China are very low. Mr Ong pointed out that there were no imported COVID-19 cases from China last week, amid the 38 weekly flights at present.
Second is the fact that no new COVID variants have emerged so far amid the current infection wave in China. This means that Singapore's strong vaccination rate is able to keep its residents from contracting the coronavirus, or falling severely ill.
Mr Ong added that the authorities look forward to going back to "even greater normalcy in the not-too-distant future".
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