International COVID 19 Worst Covid-19 outbreak since 2020 a good reality check for S'pore: Experts

Worst Covid-19 outbreak since 2020 a good reality check for S’pore: Experts

Situation may come under control in a couple of weeks

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Singapore – The increasing number of Covid-19 community cases in Singapore serves as a reminder not to let one’s guard down, say experts.

The recent cases show that nobody can relax, not even for a moment, said Professor Teo Yik Ying, Dean of the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, to The Straits Times.

On Sunday (May 2), the Ministry of Health reported 14 new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection.

In the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster alone, 27 people have tested positive for the virus, making it the first hospital cluster and currently the largest in Singapore. One patient, an 88-year-old woman, linked to the cluster died on May 1 due to Covid-19 complications.

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“We have seen time and again how countries have had to ramp up restrictions or even reimpose another lockdown after they have opened up, and this scenario could become a reality if we become complacent,” said Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the National University of Singapore’s Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, to ST.

“I certainly hope this is just a blip in our management of Covid-19, and it won’t progress on to much further community spread.”

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from 10 cases in the week before to 51 cases last week. A total of 212 confirmed cases were reported from Apr 26 to May 2, added MOH.

However, if contact tracing, testing, and quarantine protocols are as effective as before, Prof Teo predicted, then “we should see the current blip come under control within the next couple of weeks or so”.

The country is acting swiftly to ring-fence the cases and curb the spread of the virus within the nine open clusters. Testing, among other precautionary measures such as four TTSH wards being locked down, is being rolled out aggressively.

“What’s critical is cooperation from the public: If you are requested to go for a swab test, please go for it. If you are given a leave of absence, please stick to it,” said Prof Teo.

“And everyone must continue with personal safe management measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing.”

Although the numbers are alarming, Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of research at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said that they are not large enough to be tagged as a new wave of community infections.

In early April last year, Singapore was reporting more than 40 new locally transmitted infections daily.

“Everyone has been quite relaxed with the rules lately, and this will be a good reality check for us,” said Assoc Prof Cook.

The experts noted that Singapore is better prepared than it was a year ago, with more than one-fifth of the population vaccinated and testing and tracing capabilities increased./TISG

Read related: S’pore General Hospital not allowing entry to those who visited TTSH

S’pore General Hospital not allowing entry to those who visited TTSH

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