As COVID Cases Surge, Singapore Tells People To Mask Up In Crowded Places

Singapore: COVID-19 is hardly a topic of discussion in India now, though Kerala is witnessing a rising trend of late. Almost four years after the deadly virus first surfaced in China, the world is still not coronavirus-free.

In Singapore, the number of COVID-19 cases jumped from 32,035 to 56,043 in the first week of December (3 to 9).

Not taking the recent surge in cases lightly, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised mask usage in crowded places, particularly indoors. Travellers have also been urged to adopt precautions like wearing masks at airports and avoiding poorly ventilated crowded areas.

The average daily COVID-related hospitalisations rose 225 the week before to 350, while average daily Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases increased from 4 to 9.

The dominant strain causing these infections has been identified as JN.1, a sublineage of BA.2.86.

“Based on the available international and local data, there is currently no clear indication that BA.2.86 or JN.1 are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other circulating variants,” the Singapore government said.

As part of contingency planning, the Health ministry has asked public hospitals to bolster manpower and defer non-urgent elective procedures.

Step-down facilities like Transitional Care Facilities and alternative care models like Mobile Inpatient Care@Home are being leveraged to optimise patient care.

The Health ministry has also opened a second COVID-19 Treatment Facility (CTF) at Singapore EXPO Hall 10.

Residents of the city-state have been urged to stay home if they experience acute respiratory infection symptoms, wear masks, minimise social interactions and avoid crowded places. People have also been encouraged to use masks in crowded places and at airports.

The ministry also reiterated the role of vaccination and its effectiveness in preventing severe illness.

December 19 onwards, the Singapore Health Ministry will provide daily COVID-19 updates on its website.

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