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COVID-19: Ministry of Health closely tracking rise in hospitalisation, ICU cases in Singapore

No indication of more severe disease, as ministry advises public to exercise social responsibility, keep up-to-date with vaccinations

The National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore.
The National Centre for Infectious Diseases in Singapore. (PHOTO: Reuters/Caroline Chia)

SINGAPORE — There has been a rise in hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) cases due to COVID-19 infection over the past two weeks, as the Ministry of Health (MOH) advised the public to exercise social responsibility and keep up-to-date with vaccinations.

The ministry said in a media release on Friday (8 December) that the estimated number of COVID-19 cases in the week of 26 November to 2 December rose to 32,035, up from 22,094 in the previous week.

Daily COVID-19 hospitalisations also rose from 136 to 225, while the average daily ICU cases increased from one to four cases.

MOH said it is closely tracking this COVID-19 wave to ensure that Singapore's healthcare capacity is able to cope, as the wave has already added workload to the city-state's already-busy hospitals. The ministry added that there is no indication that the COVID-19 variants circulating locally are more transmissible or cause more severe disease.

"The increase in cases could be due to a number of factors, including waning population immunity and increased travel and community interactions during the year-end travel and festive season," the ministry said.

"Cases infected by JN.1, a sublineage of BA.2.86, currently account for over 60 per cent of COVID-19 cases in Singapore. While BA.2.86 and its sublineages have been classified as a Variant of Interest by the World Health Organization since 21 November, there are currently no indications, globally or locally, that BA.2.86 or JN.1 are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other circulating variants."

Take precautions, keep up-to-date with vaccinations

MOH has urged the public to exercise precaution, personal and social responsibility. The most important precautionary measures are:

  • Practise good personal hygiene, such as frequent hand washing;

  • When unwell, stay at home, and minimise contact with other people, especially seniors and those who are vulnerable;

  • At a crowded place, particularly if not well-ventilated, consider wearing a mask;

  • When travelling overseas, stay vigilant and adopt relevant travel precautions, such as wearing a mask at the airport, purchasing travel insurance, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation.

The ministry also urged the public to seek medical treatment at a hospital’s Emergency Department only for serious or life-threatening emergencies. This will help preserve the hospital capacity for patients who truly need acute hospital care and allow those with severe illness to receive timely treatment.

MOH also advised Singapore residents to keep up-to-date with their COVID-19 vaccinations. This means an additional dose around one year after their last vaccine dose for those aged 60 years and above, medically vulnerable persons, and residents of aged care facilities.

Beyond this group, all individuals aged six months and above are also encouraged to receive the additional dose, particularly for healthcare workers and household members/caregivers of medically vulnerable individuals.

The updated COVID-19 Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna/Spikevax vaccines are available at the Joint Testing and Vaccination Centres, participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics and selected polyclinics, and continue to be free. Please refer to this website for the nearest vaccination site and the types of vaccines offered at each site.

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