The Straits Times says

Not the time to take eye off Omicron

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General practitioner clinics that remained open over the Chinese New Year holiday saw a surge in walk-in patients, some with acute respiratory infections. Others saw a spike in positive antigen rapid test (ART) cases. With the number of Covid-19 cases running into the thousands in recent days, Singapore is not taking any chances: Vaccination-differentiated safe management measures kicked in on Feb 1 at hotels, hostels and serviced apartments, institutes of higher learning, and indoor sports facilities - further expanding the scope of settings that unvaccinated people will not be able to enter. Such measures are now also applicable for media conferences, work-related and other events.

This is in line with the World Health Organisation's (WHO) warning that countries should not ease their Covid-19 restrictions prematurely. Although Omicron has been shown to bring less severe illness than earlier variants, there has been an increase in deaths in parts of the world. Even in developed countries, vaccination and booster take-up rates may not be high enough to confer sufficient protection. Interventions will have to be lifted in a steady and slow way. As the virus continues to mutate, the narrative that measures to prevent transmission are no longer necessary is a dangerous one, and countries that open up prematurely due to political pressure could face unnecessary transmission and deaths.

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