Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Singapore: Healthcare system risks being ‘overwhelmed’



Singapore: Healthcare system risks being ‘overwhelmed’

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Singapore’s government has warned that its healthcare system risked being ‘overwhelmed’ by surging coronavirus infections. AFP

Singapore: Healthcare system risks being ‘overwhelmed’

Singapore's healthcare system is at risk of being “overwhelmed” by surging coronavirus infections, government officials warned on October 20, a day after the city-state expanded quarantine-free travel as it shifts its approach to dealing with the pandemic.

The health ministry reported 18 deaths on October 20 – Singapore’s highest toll in a single day – and 3,862 more cases, just shy of the record 3,994 tallied the day before.

“At the current situation, we face considerable risk of the healthcare system being overwhelmed,” Lawrence Wong, co-chair of a government task force fighting Covid-19, said before the new figures were released.

Wong, who is also the finance minister, said nearly 90 per cent of isolation beds in hospitals have been filled and more than two-thirds of intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied.

His comments come a day after the city-state expanded its quarantine-free travel to fully vaccinated passengers from eight countries, including key trading partners the US, Britain and France.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has said the global business hub cannot remain closed indefinitely, and the city-state has shifted from a zero-tolerance strategy with lockdowns and closed borders to taking the approach of living with Covid-19.

Analysts said the travel lane scheme, which started with Brunei and Germany last month, could provide a shot in the arm for the pandemic-hammered airline and tourism industries. But it nevertheless stirred fears among some ordinary Singaporeans as the city grapples with its latest outbreak.

Most of Singapore’s cases are mild or asymptomatic with patients recovering at home, allowing hospitals to focus on seriously sick Covid patients.

“We are trying to add capacity, but it’s not simply a matter of having extra beds or purchasing new equipment because … our medical personnel are stretched and fatigued,” Wong said.

“And while we are trying to reinforce the team, it will take time for these reinforcements to come in.”

Taskforce co-leader and health minister Ong Ye Kung said the number of infections among unvaccinated people aged 60 years and above “continues to be high”, accounting for two-thirds of patients in the ICU and those who have died.

Singapore has reported more than 158,000 coronavirus cases and 264 deaths.

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince Norodom Ranariddh passes away at 77

    Prince Norodom Ranariddh, the second son of the late King Father Norodom Sihanouk and former First Prime Minister of Cambodia, has passed away in France at the age of 77. “Samdech Krom Preah Norodom Ranariddh has passed away this morning in France just after 9am Paris-time,”

  • Cambodia purchases 4 million Molnupiravir tablets

    Cambodia has arranged for the purchase of four million US-made Molnupiravir pills – enough to treat 100,000 Covid-19 patients – even though the current rate of daily infections in Cambodia remains low. The medicine will be distributed to state hospitals, pharmacies and private clinics, according to the Samdech

  • Rise in planned flights lifts travel hopes

    Six airlines have applied to resume flights in December, while two others have put in for additional flights and routes, according to State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) head Mao Havannall on November 29. These account for 43 new weekly domestic and international flights in December, up 16

  • Is Cambodia’s travel sector in for another cheerless holiday season?

    The travel and tourism sector was heaving back to life as borders started to reopen, promising a festive vibe for the holidays and New Year. But Omicron and other Covid-related issues are threatening to close the year on a bleak note ‘Seems [like] Covid-19 won’

  • Cambodia, Thailand to discuss border reopening

    Cambodian authorities from provinces along the Cambodia-Thailand border will meet with Thai counterparts to discuss reopening border checkpoints to facilitate travel, transfer of products and cross-border trade between the two countries. Banteay Meanchey provincial deputy governor Ly Sary said on November 22 that the provincial administration

  • Cambodia planning new border checkpoint at Thma Da

    Cambodia is looking into the possibility of opening a new Thma Da Border Checkpoint with Thailand to boost trade and tourism. The Ministry of Public Works and Transport said on December 4 that Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol led a technical working group