When it was announced last year that several effective Covid-19 vaccines had been developed, it should have been the beginning of the end of the pandemic.
But we then received news that a new strain of the coronavirus had been detected in the UK – B117 – and that it was far more transmissible.
More bad news? That’s a surprise.
Since then, countries all over the globe have been scrambling to keep the B117 strain out of their borders, though restrictions may have come too late.
Singapore confirmed its first case of the new strain in December, and now, it seems that three other confirmed cases were carrying the mutated virus as well.
3 Past COVID-19 Cases Have New UK Strain & 2 Have Been to Jewel; MOH Offering Tests to People Working in Jewel
I have bad and more bad news.
The bad news is that three previous Covid-19 cases have tested positive for the B117 strain of the coronavirus.
The other bad news is that two of these three cases visited Jewel Changi Airport on 31 Dec last year, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
The third case was at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on the same day.
The B117 infections were detected after the National Public Health Laboratory conducted whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis.
To prevent other potential infections, MOH will offer testing to staff who have been working from 31 Dec at Jewel Changi Airport.
Staff at the shops and eateries at Changi Airport Terminal 3 that are open to the public will also be offered tests.
Recent studies have shown that the B117 strain is likely to be far more transmissible than other strains.
However, there’s no evidence that it’s stronger or deadlier.
All 14 Cases Reported on Tuesday From Abroad
We did get some good news on Tuesday (26 Jan), though.
Only 14 new infections were reported, all of which were imported.
All 14 imported cases had been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore.
This is the fourth day in a row without any new Covid-19 cases in the community.
Consequently, the number of new community cases has dropped to nine in the past week from 14 the week before.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also gone down to two, from five cases over the same period.
Pandemic Could Last Four to Five Years
Since yesterday, some concerned residents have reported hearing cats wailing all over the country.
But these sounds are actually the groans of despair coming from Singaporeans after hearing what our Education Minister had to say yesterday.
Mr Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the Covid-19 task force, predicted that it could be four or five years before the devastating pandemic ends.
So, mandatory mask wearing, safe distancing, and avoiding crowded places will continue to be a part of our everyday life for quite some time.
Mr Wong added that we’ll have to get used to this new way of living for the rest of this year and a good chunk of next year as well.
So, we should probably temper our expectations as to when the pandemic will end. Otherwise, we’ll constantly be disappointed.
Featured Image: Phuong D. Nguyen / Shutterstock.com