SINGAPORE - To make sure that the hospitals here do not run out of intensive care unit (ICU) beds, more restrictions may be necessary if the growth in the worrying KTV Covid-19 cluster shows no sign of stopping, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung on Friday (July 16).
In less than a week, the cluster that started among people who had socialised in clandestine gatherings at KTV lounges has become Singapore's largest active cluster, with 120 cases. It was the second-largest cluster on Thursday, with 88 cases.
The authorities here are keeping a close watch on the hospitals' ICU capacity because five weeks could be all it takes to overwhelm the hospitals, said Mr Ong at a multi-ministry task force on Covid-19 press conference.
There are 1,000 beds set aside for Covid-19 patients. Currently, there is one elderly Covid-19 patient in the ICU.
However, Mr Ong said: "If, in the next few days, more people (were to) fall sick and be in the ICU, there are 25 people. In one week, there will be 50 people."
Then, there will be 100 people in the second week, 200 people in the third week, about 500 people in the fourth week, and about 1,000 people in the fifth week, he added.
"We cannot wait five weeks. By the third week, if we see the numbers go up, action has to be taken quickly to rewind us back to at least the phase two (heightened alert)."
Deaths can occur easily if the hospitals are seriously overwhelmed, as has been the case in other places that have witnessed a huge surge in severe Covid-19 cases.