S'pore confirms 3 more prelim-positive Omicron cases; 474 new infections and 3 deaths

People pose with a Christmas Tree along Singapore's Orchard Road shopping district as it filled with crowds on Sunday, 12 December 2021. (Photo by Joseph Nair/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People pose with a Christmas tree along Orchard Road on 12 December, 2021 in Singapore. (PHOTO: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NOTE: The MOH has stopped issuing daily media releases on infection statistics. In line with the MOH's announcement, Gov.sg has also stopped its daily WhatsApp updates on such statistics.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (15 December) confirmed 474 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore – bringing the country's total case count to 274,617 – as well as three deaths due to the disease.

It also confirmed three more cases who have tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant, of whom one is a local transmission. The remaining two are an imported case and his wife who dined at four restaurants in the Orchard Road area.

All three cases are fully vaccinated and have mild or no symptoms, and are recovering in isolation wards at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), said the MOH.

The locally transmitted case is a 54-year-old man who works as a loading cabin assistant at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and had no contact with flight passengers.

The imported case is a 36-year-old man who travelled to Singapore via the vaccinated travel lane from the US. His pre-departure test in the US on 6 December was negative for COVID-19 infection, as was his on-arrival polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test on 8 December.

His 34-year-old wife, who also tested preliminarily positive for the Omicron variant, had no recent travel history and has been working from home.

The National Public Health Laboratory is conducting whole genome sequencing for all three cases to confirm the variant and contact tracing is ongoing, said the MOH.

This comes after Singapore on Tuesday confirmed 16 cases of Omicron, of whom 14 are imported.

The remaining two are locally transmitted cases, both airport passenger service staff members working at Changi Airport. There are no known linkages between the two cases, authorities previously said.

13th day with less than 1,000 cases; 32 in ICU

Wednesday marks the 13th day in a row with less than 1,000 cases reported in the city-state.

It is also the 87th day in a row with fatalities from COVID-19 reported in Singapore, with 84 people having succumbed to it this month. The MOH did not provide details on the three fatalities reported on Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 452 are local – 442 are in the community, and 10 are residents of migrant worker dormitories. The remaining 22 are imported.

The ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before – or the weekly infection growth rate – is 0.62, up from a two-day streak of 0.6. This is the 33rd day in a row where the figure is lower than 1.

Apart from the 807 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 15 others who tested positive for the virus were determined to have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another four whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

A total of 636 cases were discharged on Wednesday, while 517 remain warded. Over the last 28 days, of the 29,449 infected individuals, 98.7 per cent had no or mild symptoms.

There are currently 68 cases of serious illness requiring oxygen supplementation.

A total of 32 cases are in the intensive care unit (ICU) – four are unstable and under close monitoring to prevent further deterioration, while 28 are critically ill and intubated.

The current overall ICU utilisation rate is 49.9 per cent, down from Tuesday's 50.8 per cent.

2 Sinovac doses offer 30% less protection against Delta compared to 2 Pfizer

The MOH on Wednesday also released findings from a study based on local data by the NCID and the ministry's COVID-19 data management and analytics team.

The study, covering a period of 1 October to 21 November and 1.25 million individuals aged 40 and above, found that those who received two doses of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine were observed to have 60 per cent protection against severe disease from the Delta variant.

This is lower than those who received two doses of Pfizer-BioNTech – 90 per cent – or Moderna mRNA vaccines at 97 per cent.

"These results support the need for three doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccines as a primary series to attain better protection against severe disease," said the MOH.

Those who have had two doses of the Sinovac vaccine are recommended to and can also opt for a dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as a third dose of their primary vaccination series, the ministry added.

As of Tuesday, the total number of individuals who have completed their full regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines is 96 per cent of the eligible population.

Among the total population, 87 per cent have done so, while 87 per cent has received at least one dose, and 31 per cent has received their booster shots.

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