There has been a 23% week-on-week increase in Covid-19 community infections in Singapore, largely driven by the increased spread of newer Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, according to the republic’s health ministry.
“Although the BA.2 sub-variant still accounts for the bulk of our Covid-19 infections, the proportion of BA.4 and BA.5 infections is rising,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
It said about 30% of the Covid-19 cases in the community in the past week were cases with BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants, compared to 17% and 3.0% for the previous two weeks respectively.
“BA.5 alone is estimated to contribute to 25% of all cases this week. The surge in BA.4 and BA.5 cases is likely to continue, driven by their higher transmissibility compared to BA.2,” it added.
The health ministry noted that current international and local evidence shows that the severity of BA.4 and BA.5 infections is similar to that of earlier Omicron strains.
“The current safe management measures (SMMs), including the requirement to wear masks while indoors and vaccination-differentiated SMMs for some higher-risk activities, will remain,” it said.
The ministry said it will continue genomic surveillance for circulating subvariants in Singapore, including requiring some infected individuals to take an additional government-funded polymerase chain reaction swab for genomic sequencing.
“While we have not seen a significant increase of severe Covid-19 cases in our hospitals, and the number of cases in the intensive care units remains low, our public hospitals remain busy caring for non-Covid patients, and many hospitals experience high bed occupancies,” it said, adding that vaccination and boosters are an important line of defence.