The next wave of Covid-19 cases in Singapore could start in July or August as people’s antibodies from immunizations and infections from the prior Omicron wave start to decrease.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Sunday (June 5) that it will be driven by the BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants of the virus.
Once a wave retreats, four to six months later, another would rise, Ong said during a visit to the new Bukit Canberra integrated sport and community centre.
Nothing will happen until our antibodies start to decrease, then BA.4 and BA.5 will emerge by July or August.
The two sub-variants were initially found in South Africa this year and are increasing Covid-19 populations worldwide.
The first three sub-variants were found in Singapore in mid-May, but specialists aren’t alarmed.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the two variations possess spike protein alterations that provide “greater immune escape qualities and higher transmissibility” than the BA.1 and BA.2 variants that caused the original Omicron outbreak here.
Ong said Sunday that while there have been incidents, they haven’t overtaken BA.1 or BA.2.
“I think we can weather BA.4 and BA.5 with our resilience.”
Ong urged all healthcare settings, from nursing homes to community hospitals, to be Covid-ready on June 2 at the MOH annual work plan conference.
Despite high vaccine coverage and mask-on laws, Singapore must make more hospital beds available, he said. Hospitals are offering home care to free up beds.
Community treatment centres have been redesigned to accept any patient who doesn’t need urgent hospital care, regardless of sickness.
Such facilities were first introduced last year for senior Covid-19 patients in stable health who needed closer supervision.
In addition to freeing up beds, eligible seniors 60 and older who have not received their booster shots must be convinced to take their third shot, said Ong.
Singapore recorded 2,879 new Covid19 cases on Saturday, raising the total to 1,316,728.
The Ministry of Health reported 265 new PCR cases and 2,614 new ART cases.
250 PCR cases were native, and 15 were imported. 2,502 local transmissions and 112 imported cases had mild symptoms and were low risk.
289 patients are hospitalized, with seven in ICUs.
The death toll from Covid-19 infection complications rose to 1,392, the ministry stated.