Health Minister: Delta Variant Has Subsided But Omicron Now Make Up 17% of Local Cases

The first day of the new year brings good news.

Well, it isn’t exactly the first day, but it was the first work day of 2022, so Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has updated us over Facebook about where Singapore is on the pandemic. And, spoiler alert: it is mostly good news.

COVID-19 Situation Continues to be Stable

Remember the times when COVID-19 cases peaked at over 26,000 a week? We have thankfully left that in 2021, as our number of active local cases stays stable at 1,200.

The number of cases that require intensive care hit a new low for the last quarter, with it being at around 20 cases currently. There are, thankfully, few deaths as well.

So, what does this mean for us? Are we going to be removing our masks and going back to our old ways of not using hand sanitiser? (Just kidding. Please keep your masks on and your hands clean.)

While we won’t be removing our masks anytime soon due to the growing Omicron cases, the recent low number of cases does mean that the wave of Delta cases is subsiding.

However, it isn’t time for celebration yet, as an Omicron wave is going to happen soon, with Omicron cases already making up 17% of our current local cases.

Government’s Response to the Omicron variant

With the vaccination exercise continuing nationwide, it is clear that vaccination and boosters remain the key response of the government to combat the Omicron wave.

You can watch this video to know what to expect:

New supplies of the COVID-19 vaccine are also expected to arrive this month to support the vaccination exercise.

87% of our population has completed both doses of their vaccine, and 88% has received at least one dose.

The end of 2021 also saw 41% of our population getting their booster shots, which is a significant proportion out of the 70% that is eligible.

If you haven’t got your booster shot: you can book an appointment through the link in the SMS the Ministry of Health sent to those who are eligible, or walk into any mRNA COVID-19 vaccine vaccination centre. Make sure that it’s been five months since your last vaccination though!)

Our little ones are getting protected too: more than 20,000 children (or half a cohort) aged 9 to 11 years got their first dose last week, with many scheduled to get vaccinated in the following weeks as well.

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Why Vaccinations and Boosters?

In case you’re wondering if vaccinations and booster shots will keep you 100% safe from COVID-19, the answer is sadly no. However, it does significantly reduce the risk of you developing serious illnesses if you ever contract the virus. (Touch wood, please.)

Against the Delta variant, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have been shown to reduce the risk of infection by 40%, and the risk of severe disease by 90%.

And if you’re thinking of waiting for a vaccine that targets the recent Omicron variant instead, MOH advises that getting vaccinated now would be the better thing to do, as the prevailing variant in Singapore is still Delta and you would want to be protected from the current situation as well.

With the Omicron variant taking the reins from Delta, let’s keep doing our part in practising safe management measures and getting vaccinated, so that we can make 2022 a better year than the last. And hopefully, the day will come where we can all drink bubble tea without any masks on the street.

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Featured Image: YouTube (CNA)