SINGAPORE: The country on Tuesday reported 11,504 new COVID-19 cases, the highest in over three months, with Health Minister Ong Ye Kung warning people that the latest wave of infections has arrived sooner than expected.
Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong said that Covid cases are expected to continue rising in the coming weeks. Wong, who is also the co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, had on Monday said there was no need to tighten COVID-19 safety measures at this stage but adjustments will be made "if need be". The uptick in the number of infections is caused by the newer BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of Omicron, he had said.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Tuesday told Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, "I had earlier said that the next wave might take place around July or August, but it's now here a little earlier, at the end of June -- possibly due to the June (school) holidays.
"Of the 11,504 new COVID-19 cases reported on Tuesday till noon, 10,732 were local infections and 772 foreign cases. Also, one person succumbed to the viral infections, taking the total number of deaths linked to coronavirus complications to 1,410 since the pandemic hit the city-state. Singapore Ministry of Health has confirmed 1,425,171 Covid cases so far.
On Monday, the ministry had said that about 45 per cent of Covid cases in the community in the past week were caused by the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, up from 30 per cent in the week before.
The BA.5 sub-variant alone is estimated to have contributed to 40 per cent of all COVID-19 cases in the past week. However, international and local data show that the two sub-variants do not result in more severe outcomes than the earlier Omicron strains, the health ministry said on Monday.
"Coupled with our population's high vaccination coverage, the number of severe COVID-19 infections has remained manageable," Channel News Asia reported quoting the Health Ministry. According to media reports, the last time Singapore reported more daily infections than Tuesday was on March 22 when 13,166 COVID-19 new cases were recorded.
Meanwhile, the Singapore Ministry of Health on Monday said a toddler died from encephalitis due to COVID-19, respiratory syncytial virus, and enterovirus infections. It added the Singaporean boy had no other medical history and was previously well. The 18-month-old boy was the first person under the age of 12 to die of COVID-19 in Singapore.