MOH Warns of Increase in COVID-19 Cases Due to Relatively New Omicron Sub-Variant

It felt like just yesterday when we were all at home watching PM Lee’s addresses on COVID-19, waiting for the moment he takes a sip from his magic language-changing cup.

Ah, what I would give to watch the little blue cup in action again. This time, preferably without an accompanying speech about skyrocketing infections, new variants and tightening restrictions.

Why the sudden thought?

Over the past few days, there has been a 35 to 40 per cent increase week-on-week in COVID-19 cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday.

A new Omicron variant – BA.2.75

As we start treating the virus as an epidemic instead of a pandemic, a new Omicron sub-variant BA.2.75 has come to crush our hopes of returning to full normalcy again.

This new sub-variant, nicknamed Centaurus, accounts for about a quarter of all daily infections and is responsible for the recent increase in infections – we have Centaurus to blame for the 900 to 1,000 additional cases we’re recording every day.

Over the next few weeks, higher numbers of cases are expected as well.

While MOH continues to monitor the situation, the ministry has also urged Singaporeans who have yet to receive their booster shots to do so.

Don’t worry, you won’t be given undiluted COVID-19 vaccines.

The ministry added that there has yet to be any indication that the increase in cases has increased the severity of the diseases. Internationally and locally, there has been no evidence of increased disease severity associated with this new sub-variant.

Fortunately, the growing number of daily cases has also had no significant impact on our healthcare system thus far.

Guess we won’t be coming together to clap as a nation again anytime soon…

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Staying cautious

However, concerns have been surfaced about how the sub-variant may be more vaccine-resistant. The number of extra mutations it contains is surprising, to say the least, and gives it a “wild card” property.

The sub-variant is still under study by health organisations.

MOH also said that there has recently been a higher proportion of reinfections.

Yes, you’re not the main character. Just because you’ve been struck by the dreaded disease before, it doesn’t mean that you can’t catch it again.

After the surge in cases two to three months ago, public immunity is waning once again, increasing people’s susceptibility to reinfection.

The proportion of reinfections increased from 6 per cent of all reported cases in the beginning of September to 10 per cent this week. While these account for only a small proportion of the rise in cases, we still ought to be cautious.

After all, do you really want to be stuck at home taking ART tests everyday while all your friends are out having fun?

With the relaxation of most COVID-19 rules, as well as the increase in social gatherings, the new Omicron sub-variant is now circulating more widely in the population. Other variants such as BA.4.6 are also gaining headway.

The ministry urged the public to continue exercising personal and social responsibility.

Have all the fun you want, but remember to mask up in crowded places or when interacting with vulnerable persons.

One more thing – if you’re unwell, don’t try to geh kiang. Stay at home and avoid going out. If you feel unwell while you’re out or at the workplace, go home immediately to rest or see a doctor.

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