35% to 40% increase in Covid-19 cases week-on-week in last few days: MOH

The increase has been driven primarily by an increase in infections by the Omicron variant BA.2.75, said MOH. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - There has been a 35 per cent to 40 per cent increase week on week in coronavirus cases over the past few days, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday, in a fresh warning as the nation gets used to treating the virus as endemic.

Driven primarily by an increase in infections by the Omicron variant BA.2.75, which accounts for about a quarter of all daily infections, the increase translates to 900 to 1,000 more cases every day, the ministry said.

MOH said higher numbers of cases are expected over the next few weeks.

It continues to monitor the situation, and urged those who have not received their booster shots to do so.

But it added that the higher number of cases has so far not led to more severe disease or had significant impact on Singapore's healthcare system.

The main driver of the surge, BA.2.75, also does not seem to be more dangerous.

"There has been no evidence of increased disease severity associated with BA.2.75 in international research or in our local context," MOH said.

The new Omicron sub-variant BA.2.75, nicknamed Centaurus, was first detected in India in early May and has since infected people in the United States, Britain, Australia, Germany, Canada and others.

There is worry that it may be more vaccine-resistant.

Virologists have also been alarmed by the number of extra mutations it contains, giving it a "wild card" property. Health organisations are still studying it.

MOH said it is now circulating more widely in the population due to the easing of most Covid-19 rules and more social mixing and gatherings, since the first two imported cases of the variant were reported here in July.

This is coupled with a higher proportion of reinfections, increasing from 6 per cent of all reported cases in the beginning of September to 10 per cent this week, although these still account for only a small proportion of the rise.

Infectious diseases specialist Leong Hoe Nam said the rise is expected.

Beyond sub-variant B.A.2.75, others, such as B.A 4.6, are also gaining headway.

After the spike in cases two to three months ago, public immunity is also waning once more, predisposing more people to reinfection.

"But I'm not concerned. The case of repeated infections is the new normal. So far, it doesn't seem to have led to more severe illness," he added.

MOH urged the public to continue to exercise personal and social responsibility, as well as caution, such as wearing masks when in crowded places, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable persons.

Those who are unwell should stay at home.

If they feel unwell when out or in the workplace, they should go home immediately to rest or see a doctor, MOH said.

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