International Omicron wave: 1,185 new cases reported Jan 19, compared with 589 on...

Omicron wave: 1,185 new cases reported Jan 19, compared with 589 on Jan 18

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Singapore — There were 1,185 Omicron infections among the 1,615 new Covid-19 cases reported in Singapore on Wednesday by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

That means Wednesday’s confirmed Omicron cases are more than twice as many as Tuesday’s, when 589 were reported.

MOH added that among these confirmed Omicron infections, 965 are local cases and 220 are imported. Non-Omicron cases for the same day totalled 430.

In its latest update, the ministry said that an additional 686 recovered Covi-19 patients had been discharged and one more person had died. This brings the total to 844 deaths since the first Covid-19 case surfaced here in January 2020.

The growth in cases has also boosted the weekly infection growth rate. On Tuesday, it was at 1.76, but had risen to 1.96 – that is, close to double – by Wednesday.

This rate is a week-on-week comparison of community cases.  The higher the rate, the greater the increase of new infections. 

Screengrab: https://www.moh.gov.sg/

Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, confirmed on Thursday that Omicron  was  well and truly spreading in the community here.

“It is clear that Singapore already has community infections that are driven by Omicron, which means Omicron is already circulating in the community,”  Prof Teo was quoted as saying in The Straits Times.

Singapore saw its first Omicron case by Dec 9, a frontline worker at Changi Airport. The worker had duties at the transit holding area, where she may have come into contact with transit passengers from countries known to have the Omicron variant.

The worker was fully vaccinated and had already received a booster jab, showed no symptoms of Covid, but her infection was detected as part of weekly rostered routine testing for border frontline workers.

The speed of the variant’s spread in Singapore has been stunning. As of Dec 10, 2021, Singapore had only detected four other Omicron cases. Those four were all imported.

It was in South Africa that the Omicron variant was first detected, late in November 2021. Infectious disease specialists quickly pegged it as a variant of concern because of mutations that allowed it to evade Covid-19 vaccines. Despite this,  vaccinated individuals are still protected to a great degree from severe symptoms, grave illness, hospitalisation, and even death.

The variant, while highly transmissible, has also generally brought on milder symptoms than the previous Delta variant that severely affected many countries, especially those where vaccination rates were low.

More importantly, the wave of infections in South Africa abated within eight weeks of its discovery.

The “country’s wave of infections has fallen as sharply as it climbed,” CBS News reported on Jan 18. “Not only that, but South Africa has weathered its fourth wave of COVID-19 with very little interruption to people’s lives.

On Jan 3, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung warned in a Facebook post that an Omicron wave was imminent. He wrote that “Omicron cases have started to creep up, making up around 17 per cent of local cases currently,” but did not seem overly alarmed and underlined that the situation here “continues to be stable so far”.  

/TISG

Read also: S’pore PR gets infected with Omicron in December after Delta plus infection last May

S’pore PR gets infected with Omicron in December after Delta plus infection last May

The post Omicron wave: 1,185 new cases reported Jan 19, compared with 589 on Jan 18 appeared first on The Independent Singapore News – Latest Breaking News

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