Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Singapore keeps tabs on Omicron



Singapore keeps tabs on Omicron

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Singapore Prime Minister Lee said the city-state must be mentally prepared for ‘more bumps along the way’ as it deals with an evolving virus. THE STRAITS TIMES

Singapore keeps tabs on Omicron

Singapore is watching the new coronavirus variant Omicron closely and may be forced to roll back the easing up of safety measures as it moves forward to tackle the disease, said Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on November 28.

But Lee said he is confident the country will be able to live with the virus, and held up how its people have made a lot of progress in dealing with the disease over the past two years.

In his first public comments about Omicron, Lee, who was speaking at the People’s Action Party (PAP) convention on November 28, said that Singapore must be mentally prepared for “more bumps along the way” as it deals with an evolving virus.

“We are tracking this very closely. We are not sure yet, but we may well be forced to take a few steps back again, before we can take more steps forward,” he said.

“But despite all this, I am confident that, eventually, we will find our way to living with the virus and safely resume all the things we love to do.

“We are making all this effort because we want to get there safely, with as few casualties along the way,” he added.

Omicron, which was dubbed a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on November 26, is a new and potentially more contagious coronavirus strain, and Singapore and other countries have in recent days restricted travel from southern Africa, where the strain was first detected.

Singapore has largely managed to keep its Covid-19 situation under control through a series of safety measures that the government tightens to respond to the spread of the virus.

Last week, the government relaxed curbs on dining out, household visits and some social activities, after nearly two months of stabilisation measures. These measures were introduced on September 27 following a surge in Covid-19 cases, and were intended to last a month but were extended as the country’s healthcare system remained at risk of being overwhelmed.

Singapore had imposed a circuit breaker from April 7 to June 1 in 2020 to stem the initial spread of the disease, where people were not allowed to have social gatherings or dine out.

Lee acknowledged that the fight against Covid-19 has been tough on Singapore and its people. He said: “It has been a long journey with many twists and turns. The virus has surprised us over and over again. Repeatedly we have had to adapt our response, pick ourselves up and then press on.”

On November 27, the Ministry of Health reported 1,761 new cases of the disease, as well as a weekly infection growth rate of 0.75.

This was the 15th consecutive day the growth rate is below one. The number refers to the ratio of community cases in the past week over the week before, and a weekly infection growth rate that is consistently below one shows the number of new weekly Covid-19 cases is falling.

Omicron was first identified in Gauteng, a province of South Africa, and the WHO was alerted on November 24. It was declared a variant of concern because of the large number of mutations detected in its spike protein, which may cause an increased risk of reinfection, among other negative effects. The spike protein is what the coronavirus uses to begin infecting human cells.

Lee on November 28 thanked healthcare and front-line workers, as well as PAP party activists, for working to keep Singapore safe.

THE STRAITS TIMES (SINGAPORE)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

MOST VIEWED

  • NY sisters inspired by Khmer heritage

    Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, Cambodian-American sisters Edo and Eyen Chorm have always felt a deep affinity for their Cambodian heritage and roots. When the pair launched their own EdoEyen namesake jewellery brand in June, 2020, they leaned heavily into designs inspired by ancient Khmer

  • Schools drawn into Manet degree row

    Prime Minister Hun Sen stepped into the Hun Manet-Sam Rainsy war of words over the validity of Manet’s degree from the US Military Academy at West Point, set off by Rainsy’s claims that Manet had received a “second-class degree” or “honorary degree”. Hun

  • Cambodia records first Omicron community case

    The Ministry of Health on January 9 reported 30 new Covid-19 cases, 29 of which were imported and all were confirmed to be the Omicron variant. The ministry also reported 11 recoveries and no new deaths. Earlier on January 9, the ministry also announced that it had detected the Kingdom's

  • The effects of the USD interest rate hike on Cambodian economy

    Experts weigh in on the effect of a potential interest rate expansion by the US Federal Reserve on a highly dollarised Cambodia Anticipation of the US Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike in March is putting developing economies on edge, a recent blog post by

  • PM eyes Myanmar peace troika

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has suggested that ASEAN member states establish a tripartite committee or diplomatic troika consisting of representatives from Cambodia, Brunei and Indonesia that would be tasked with mediating a ceasefire in Myanmar. The premier also requested that Nippon Foundation chairman Yohei Sasakawa

  • Kampot tourism quay ‘90% done’

    Construction on Kampot International Tourism Port – a 4ha quay in Teuk Chhou district about 6km west of Kampot town – has fallen off track, reaching 90 per cent completion, according to a senior Ministry of Tourism official last week. The project is now planned to be finished