The Big Story: How dangerous is the Covid-19 Delta Plus variant?

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Catch up on the hottest topics on The Big Story, The Straits Times' weekday online news programme.

Singapore confirmed its first case of the Covid-19 Delta Plus variant on Thursday (Oct 28), in an imported case detected two days earlier. Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious diseases physician from the Rophi Clinic, explains why this subvariant is expected to be similar - in transmissibility and severity of illness - to the Delta variant currently ravaging the world.

Dr Leong also outlines the conditions for a variant to be classified by the World Health Organisation as a variant of concern.

Meanwhile, Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam said on Friday that more parts of Changi Airport could be opened to speed up immigration clearance, following complaints of long waiting times at these areas. It comes as more passengers arrive in Singapore under the expanded Vaccinated Travel Lane scheme.

Separately, in its latest guidelines announced on Friday, the National Wages Council (NWC) said employers that have recovered, or are recovering from the pandemic, should prioritise restoring workers' wage cuts and rolling back wage-related cost-saving measures like temporary layoffs. Businesses still struggling should consider non-wage cost-saving measures as far as possible and try to pay workers their annual wage supplement.

NWC added that lower-wage workers earning up to $2,000 gross monthly should get a pay hike of $70 to $90, or a 4.5 per cent to 7.5 per cent raise if it is higher, to ensure their pay grows faster than those at the median wage level.

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