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HomenewsOng Ye Kung: More people may fall sick as another COVID wave...

Ong Ye Kung: More people may fall sick as another COVID wave strikes – Singapore News

“In the coming weeks, we should expect more people to fall sick, and if so, hospitalisations will go up. Waiting times will go up,” said the Health Minister

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SINGAPORE: Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Friday (Oct 6) that the country is experiencing another wave of COVID-19 infections, with the estimated number of cases having doubled from 1,000 three weeks ago to 2,000 daily over the last two weeks.

“It is driven mostly by two variants, the EG.5 and HK.3, both of which are descendants of the XBB Omicron variant. Together, they account for over 75% of cases now,” he said in a speech at the opening of the Stepping Stones Rehabilitation Centre and Serenity Centre at the Institute of Mental Health.

Mr Ong said that this is the second time Singapore has experienced a Covid wave this year, with the first occurring from March to April. He added that the Ministry of Health (MOH) treats COVID-19 as an endemic disease and has no plans to impose further restrictions.

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He also said there has been no evidence that the new coronavirus variants are more likely to cause severe illnesses than the various variants. The current vaccines work well to protect individuals from severe symptoms if infected with the new variants.

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However, he cautioned against people lowering their guard against disease and said that even more people are expected to get infected. “In the coming weeks, we should expect more people to fall sick, and if so, hospitalisations will go up. Waiting times will go up,” said the Health Minister.

Mr Ong also took the opportunity to remind people to stay up to date with their vaccines, especially for seniors and vulnerable individuals. He warned that people’s protection from the virus, acquired through vaccines or prior infections, will wane over time, saying, “Whatever protective walls we build, over time it will deteriorate and eventually crumble.”

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Individuals who have maintained an updated Covid-19 vaccine schedule are likely to have mild symptoms and recover without event if they get infected. Additionally, “the infection will give you protection against severe illness if you encounter another virus wave in the future.”

But for those who do not have updated vaccinations and have allowed their protection to wear off, “an infection now can be as worrisome as when the pandemic first broke out and we had no vaccinations. That is why MOH continues to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations at our various vaccination centres. So do take them if you are a senior aged 60 and above or a medically vulnerable individual.” /TISG

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