Singapore—A recent WhatsApp message from an NCID director has been widely shared, warning that Singapore’s present condition is more dangerous than last year before the circuit breaker was implemented.
Associate Professor David Lye, director of the Infectious Disease Research and Training Office at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases, warned in a May 17 WhatsApp message of the seriousness of the country’s current Covid-19 situation and asked that his message be shared on social media or messaging platforms.
Dr Lye wrote, “Our current status is likely more dangerous than just before circuit breaker last year.”
In March 2020, the country had gone from being the “gold standard” in managing the pandemic to a hotspot plagued by a rash of Covid-19 in migrant worker dormitories, resulting in a circuit-breaker lockdown for over two months.
As difficult as the circuit breaker was, the spread of infections was largely controlled.
But the problem now, Dr Lye wrote, is that of unlinked cases.
“The many cases with no linkage now suggest the spread to community from the Changi Airport outbreak may be wide and far.
40-50% of infected have no symptoms and can be equally infectious.
10% can get sick enough to need oxygen.”
The Changi Airport cluster is the largest community cluster so far, with 78 cases linked to it as of Tuesday (May 18).
The speed with which this cluster grew has alarmed Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, who was quoted in The Straits Times as saying, “We have seen not just two generations of spread – but up to three and even four generations that happened within a matter of less than two weeks.”
Dr Lye acknowledged in his message that Singapore does have effective vaccines and treatment, as well as expanded testing capacity, but newer mutant strains have been found to cause infections in individuals wearing masks and who were already vaccinated.
“This is serious,” he wrote.
The NCID director also called on the public to “do much more beyond what government dictates”, including staying home, avoiding crowds and crowded places, forming one’s own social bubble and committing not to socialise outside of it, wearing masks even when walking in parks, and getting vaccinated.
“The TTSH outbreak shows not enough vulnerable old people get vaccinated,” he added. “If you want to keep your family safe, you need to listen and do the above. If a country is overwhelmed like India, many will die including children and young people.
“Sick people cannot get a bed and dead bodies cannot get cremated or buried.”
He ended his message by saying that he and his colleagues do not want to see anyone in NCID or any of the public hospitals.
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