Despite the rise in Covid-19 cases, Singapore sees no need to tighten its Covid-19 safe management measures as vaccination rates among the population are high. 

Singapore reported 216 local infections and three imported on Sep 3. This figure includes 109 unlinked cases.

Singapore Director for Medical Services Kenneth Mak, at a press conference of the country’s Multi-Ministerial Task Force (MTF), said that the rise of infections in the community will “naturally raise concerns among members of the public who are concerned that the Covid-19 situation may be deteriorating.” 

But he said the rise in the number of cases in the community is “not unexpected.” This was due to increased social interactions as restrictions were loosened across Singapore. 

As the country has a fully vaccinated rate of 81% (with 84% having received at least one shot), the MTF has assessed that there is no need to impose heightened restrictions. “In fact, we will only revert to such as tightened posture as a last resort to prevent our hospital system from being overwhelmed,” MTF co-chair Lawrence Wong said. 

Mak said the intention of the so-called heightened alert measures were not “imposed with the intention to simply suppress Covid-19 infection, to the extent that we will eradicate all such infection.”

Instead, what the measures were meant to do were to reduce cross-contact so that the number of new cases that emerged was sufficiently suppressed, and that the demand for hospital isolation beds and ICU beds could be well met by the available healthcare resources.

Wong also pointed out that Singapore is shifting its approach from focusing on case numbers daily, to infected persons who need supplementary oxygen or ICU care. “This figure remained stable and under control.”

As of Sep 2, there were 528 patients admitted in acute care hospitals, of which five patients were in the ICU, and an additional 27 patients in general wards require oxygen supplementation. 

All the ICU patients were either unvaccinated or only partially vaccinated.

“So even though the total number of local cases has increased – from an average of 58 cases a day the week before to 132 cases per day in the past week – ICU numbers have not increased correspondingly,” Mak said. 

Shift in daily reports 

With the shift in focus, MTF co-chair and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the reporting of cases will also change as Singapore learns to live with Covid-19, and that it was “timely” for MOH to revamp its daily reports, although he did not specify at the briefing when this change will start. 

“For example, the vaccination rate is high, and is plateauing. So there's very little need for us to present a detailed report with all the graphs every day.”

“As we are not chasing down every single case, which means unlinked numbers are also not as relevant as before.”

On the other hand, Ong noted that “our public wants to know more information about emerging clusters, so that they can avoid certain places [and] regulate their own activities, and this is good. We should make this information available in a timely way and in a relevant way so that the public can act upon it.”