COVID cases likely above 12,000 today, near peak of new Omicron wave: Ong Ye Kung

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Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on the new wave of COVID-19 infections by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. (PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore/AFP via Getty Images)
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on the new wave of COVID-19 infections by the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. (PHOTOS: Yahoo News Singapore/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Even as COVID-19 daily cases are expected to rise to over 12,000 on Tuesday (5 July), there are indications that the current wave of infections is near or at its peak, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in Parliament.

Responding to a parliamentary question by West Coast GRC Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng on the Government's response to the current wave of COVID-19 cases, Ong said that this wave had been anticipated by authorities upon learning of the BA.4 and BA.4 Omicron subvariants.

“For this current wave, our assessment is that it will not be as severe as the Omicron wave earlier this year," he added.

"This is because many more of us have gained stronger immunity either through booster shots or recovery from infections. This will significantly impede the circulation and transmission of the virus.”

An indication that the current COVID wave is nearing its peak is that the infection cases did not double this week, compared to the week before, when over 11,000 cases were reported on 28 June. "Otherwise, we would be at 22,000 cases this week," Ong said.

Two strategies to get through current COVID wave

The minister added that there are two strategies to get through this COVID wave. The first is to ensure high vaccination and booster coverage, so that as many people as possible are protected from severe illnesses if they are infected.

Ong said that there are about 60,000 senior citizens aged 60 and above who have not taken their first booster shot, down from about 70,000 a week ago.

With mobile vaccination teams set up making it more convenient for seniors to get their vaccinations, Ong said that 60 of such sites will be set up islandwide, up from the 50 announced last week.

The second strategy is to ensure healthcare institutions and facilities are prepared and ready to ramp up capacity if there are increased admissions.

Currently, COVID-19 treatment facilities that manage serious cases but do not need hospital care have about 1,300 beds, and are 25 per cent occupied.

"Our hospitals remain ready to ramp up dedicated ICU (intensive care unit) and isolation bed capacity, should there be an increase in the number of COVID-19 patients who require hospitalisation,” Ong said.

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