Covid-19 wave in S'pore has arrived earlier than expected, possibly due to holiday travels: Ong Ye Kung

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the increase in Covid-19 cases could be related to travels during the June school holidays. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

SINGAPORE - The next wave of Covid-19 infections in Singapore has arrived sooner than expected, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Tuesday (June 28).

Speaking to Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao after the 30th annual general meeting of the Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC), Mr Ong said many people had travelled overseas, including to Europe, during the June school holidays, and the recent increase in Covid-19 cases here could be related to that.

However, Mr Ong said he did not think this wave would be worse than the one in February this year that was caused by the BA.2 Omicron subvariant.

Cases in Europe and the United States are on the rise, with the new Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5, steadily gaining ground.

Speaking in Mandarin, he said: "I had earlier said that the next wave might take place around July or August, but it's now here a little earlier, at the end of June - possibly due to the June holidays."

Mr Ong was referring to remarks he made on June 2, where he also said that every healthcare setting must be prepared to handle a surge in the number of Covid-19 patients.

On Tuesday, Mr Ong said the Ministry of Health would continue to monitor the situation, and that it was important to ensure hospitals had enough support.

In that respect, the three new nursing homes that opened in April were very important, as hospitals could transfer elderly patients with only mild illness to these homes, thus relieving pressure on themselves.

Mr Ong also said that three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine are required to protect people from the new Omicron subvariants and called on seniors to have their booster shots as soon as possible.

MOH said on Monday that about 45 per cent of the Covid-19 cases here in the last week were caused by the subvariants, with BA.5 estimated to have contributed to 40 per cent of all cases in the past week.

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