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Tightened Covid-19 restrictions ‘saved many lives’; death toll would have spiked otherwise: Ong Ye Kung

SINGAPORE — The move to re-impose a period of heightened rules against Covid-19 from July 22 has saved many lives, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Thursday (Aug 19).

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Thursday (Aug 19) that the move to reimpose a period of heightened rules against Covid-19 in July had saved many lives.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Thursday (Aug 19) that the move to reimpose a period of heightened rules against Covid-19 in July had saved many lives.

  • Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the move to re-impose Covid-19 rules on July 22 prevented “many more deaths” 
  • The number of Covid-19 patients under intensive care has been on a steady decline as well
  • In the last two weeks, the number of new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases has also halved

 

SINGAPORE — The move to re-impose a period of heightened rules against Covid-19 from July 22 has saved many lives, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Thursday (Aug 19).

Mr Ong, who co-chairs the Government’s Covid-19 task force, said: “It was a correct decision to throttle back to Phase Two (heightened alert) when the Jurong Fishery Port cluster broke out. 

“Fortunately, we did that. Otherwise, I think there will be many more deaths,” he said at a press conference held by the task force.

He acknowledged concerns about the recent spate of deaths from Covid-19 complications.

Nine of the 46 deaths from the coronavirus in Singapore happened this month alone.

Mr Ong said that this was what the task force was concerned about when the cluster emerged at Jurong Fishery Port. It remains Singapore’s largest active cluster, with 1,155 cases linked to it as of Wednesday.

Many non-vaccinated seniors are among those infected, he added.

Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), said that among the Covid-19 deaths reported in the past few weeks, those for which phylogenetic tests were carried out all turned up the highly transmissible Delta variant. Such tests help draw connections between infections.  

Even so, Mr Ong noted that the number of Covid-19 patients under intensive care has been on a steady decline.

In the last 21 days, there were 19 such admissions.

“The first week, there were nine. Second week, there were seven. And the third week, which is the past one week, there were three.” 

Mr Ong hopes that this number will be kept low as more people here get vaccinated. 

As of Tuesday, 77 per cent of Singapore’s population have completed their full vaccination regimen and 82 per cent have received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.

In a statement, MOH on Thursday emphasised again that there was clear evidence that vaccination could reduce severe illnesses and deaths significantly. 

Among the infected cases, almost 9 per cent of non-vaccinated people needed intensive care or oxygen support and around 1 per cent died. 

In comparison, 1.3 per cent of vaccinated individuals required intensive care or oxygen support, with 0.1 per cent dying from complications linked to the disease. 

The ministry added that there has been a steady decline in cases since the heightened alert phase was re-introduced on July 22, when group sizes were restricted to two and dining out banned. 

The Government eased the rules on Aug 10, allowing fully vaccinated persons to dine at eateries in groups of up to five. 

On Thursday, the rules were relaxed further, allowing up to half the people who can work from home to return to their workplaces and more fully vaccinated people to gather at mass events, including worship services. 

As of Tuesday, the number of new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases has halved to an average of 63 cases a day in the past week from 123 about two weeks ago. 

In the past fortnight, the number of cases isolated before detection has remained stable at about half of the total cases detected. Cases with no known links to reported infections were also stable, at around a quarter of total cases.

Related topics

vaccination coronavirus vaccine Covid-19 death Ong Ye Kung

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