30 per cent of coronavirus deaths last year were fully vaccinated, said Singapore’s Health Minister Ong Ye Kung
Citing the Omicron’s higher transmissibility, he also said that Singapore can expect an infection wave ”several times larger” than the one caused by Delta.
”If Delta infections reached a sustained incidence of about 3,000 cases a day, Omicron could perhaps reach 10,000 to 15,000 cases a day, or more.”
“If we have to tighten the restrictions, it will be as a last resort when our healthcare system is under severe pressure,” he said, in response to questions on whether stricter rules will be put in place.
Meanwhile, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, ”The fight against Covid-19 is not over. The Omicron variant has brought new uncertainties.”
“We may well be forced to take a few steps back again, before we can take more steps forward,” he said.
“But despite all this, I am confident that, eventually, we will find our way to living with the virus and safely resume all the things we love to do.”
Early in the pandemic, the major Southeast Asian business and trade hub kept the spread of coronavirus cases to the single or low double-digits for nearly a year by imposing a hard-line “circuit-breaker” lockdown.
Authorities initially imposed tough measures to restrict movement and gatherings but later shifted to a policy of living with the virus as the majority of residents got fully vaccinated.
With its vaccination rollout in full swing, an aggressive testing and tracking regimen, and strict health and safety guidelines, the nation of 5.5 million felt confident as it embarked in August upon what it called a “transition journey to a COVID-19 resilient nation.”
In addition to a widely vaccinated population, Singapore calculated that its testing was comprehensive enough that it would be able to identify and isolate new outbreak clusters rapidly, and that its health care system had the capacity to deal with any more serious cases.
The highly transmissible delta variant threw the plan a curveball, and the government in September again tightened some lockdown measures, such as reducing the group sizes for social gatherings and for dining in restaurants.
By the end of October, Singapore hit a 7-day rolling average of nearly 700 cases per million people, by far its worst rate of the entire pandemic.
Deaths peaked at a 7-day rolling average of 2.57 per million people on November 10, according to Our World in Data.
Singapore reported 845 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 587 imported infections. There was one fatality, taking the country’s death toll from coronavirus complications to 838.