Singapore sees indications current Covid-19 wave is near peak

Singapore sees indications current Covid-19 wave is near peak
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(July 6): Singapore’s Covid-19 cases rose to the highest in more than three months, as its health minister said the wave of infections is near its peak, “if not at the peak”.

Local cases as of midday July 5 were 12,248, the highest since March 22, and more than double Monday’s 5,700 infections, according to the Ministry of Health website. Singapore typically sees a higher number of cases on Tuesdays due to the weekend.

Authorities assess that the wave driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants will not be as severe as the Omicron wave earlier this year, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in parliament on Tuesday, where he had also flagged the day’s case numbers would breach 12,000.  

Still, in a sign of rising caution, the health ministry said in a statement late Tuesday it will limit the number of visitors to hospital wards and nursing homes as well as reduce the general duration of individual visits to 30 minutes. The new rules, designed to protect hospital capacity as well as patients and nursing home residents, will be in effect from July 7 to Aug 3 and include the pre-designation of visitors.

Meanwhile, officials in the financial hub have been appealing to the elderly to take booster shots to avoid the risk of serious illness. The country is one of the most highly vaccinated societies in the world, with over 90% of its 5.5 million population being double-vaccinated, and more than three in four having gotten a booster.

Ong said Tuesday that around 60,000 people aged 60 years and above have yet to get boosters. He also reiterated comments made earlier by other officials that there is no need to tighten Covid curbs, although it could not be ruled out in a serious wave of infections.