S'pore quietly confident in dealing with Omicron wave: Lawrence Wong

Singapore has a high vaccination rate and the vast majority of Covid-19 patients here exhibit milder symptoms. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - Vaccinations, boosters and therapeutics.

That is Singapore's strategy for dealing with Covid-19 and its variants, and it gives the Republic a clear path towards getting back to normal life - even if new mutations crop up, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Monday (Feb 21).

With a high vaccination rate and the vast majority of Covid-19 patients here exhibiting milder symptoms, Singapore is quietly confident in dealing with the current wave of Omicron infections, Mr Wong said in an interview with CNBC's Squawk Box Asia.

While current infection numbers are at record highs and could go above 20,000 cases a day, the situation in intensive care units (ICU) here is under control, he told host Martin Soong.

Hospitals, doctors and general practitioner clinics are quite busy as there are Covid-19 patients who still need care, but the good news is that the number of serious cases in the ICU is not high, he said.

"They are within the limits that we have provided for and within the capacity that we have today," Mr Wong added. "If this situation continues like that, we believe that we should be able to take some decisive steps towards easing once we have passed this present peak of the Omicron wave."

The minister said the authorities are still studying with scientists here whether a fourth vaccine shot is needed.

Asked about the Omicron sub-variant, BA.2, which is more infectious and steadily increasing in prevalence around the world, Mr Wong said there are variants and mutations all the time, and Singapore will constantly and continually monitor this.

"We don't have any indications yet for that particular variant... But I am quite sure before too long, there will be a new mutation around the world and it will come into Singapore.

"It may not be now, but maybe six months later. But we'll have to prepare for that," he added.

Mr Wong said his hope is that any new variants that appear in future will be milder than Omicron as this will give Singapore confidence that the end of the pandemic is near.

But he also warned against ruling out the emergence of a more dangerous or deadly variant of the coronavirus.

Mr Wong said: "We just have to be prepared for that. And the strategy is still vaccinations, boosters and therapeutics as well.

"I think the strategies remain sound and we have a clear path towards getting back to life as normal."

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