The Big Story: What to take note of as S'pore records more local Covid-19 cases due to Omicron subvariants

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The Big Story, The Straits Times' weekday online news programme, gets an expert's take on Singapore's growing number of Covid-19 infections driven by the newer Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5.

These strains have contributed to a 23 per cent week-on-week increase in community cases, the Ministry of Health said on Tuesday night (June 21).

About 30 per cent of the cases in the community in the past week were cases with BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants, as compared to 17 per cent, 8 per cent and 3 per cent for the previous three weeks respectively.

In other local headlines, certificate of entitlement premiums rose across all categories at the latest tender exercise that closed on Wednesday.

This is the second tender in a row that two categories breached the $100,000 mark.

The price for cars with engines bigger than 1,600cc or 130bhp and fully electric vehicles with a power output of above 110 kilowatts went up by 5.3 per cent from $100,684 to $106,001.

In the Open category, which tends to be used to register larger cars, the premium ended at $104,400 - 3.7 per cent above the $100,697 registered previously.

Senior transport correspondent Lee Nian Tjoe gives his take on this development .

Overseas, an earthquake of magnitude 6.1 killed at least 280 people in Afghanistan early on Wednesday, officials said. They added that hundreds of people were injured and the toll was likely to rise as information trickled in from remote mountain villages.

The quake struck about 44km from the city of Khost, near the Pakistani border, at a depth of 51km, according to the United States Geological Survey.

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