China Daily (Hong Kong)

Singapore puts pause on reopening as cases surge


SINGAPORE — Singapore’s health ministry reported 1,012 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, the highest since April last year.

The recent rise in cases after relaxation of some COVID-19 measures has prompted Singapore to pause on further reopening. More than 80 percent of its population have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

Of the new cases, 919 were in the community, 90 in migrant worker dormitorie­s and three were imported cases, said the Ministry of Health in a news release. The total number of cases stands at 77,804.

The ministry also announced on Sunday that it is setting up new community care facilities that will provide clinical care to COVID-19 patients who are stable, have mild symptoms and/or are generally clinically well but have underlying conditions that require closer monitoring.

This move is expected to augment Singapore’s hospital capacity, so that only those who actually need close and specialize­d medical attention, such as oxygen supplement­ation and intensive care, receive their medical care in hospitals.

Singapore’s ICU capacity is still holding up, but the hospitals’ accident and emergency department­s and general wards are coming under pressure, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a Facebook post on Sunday.

Singapore’s primary schools will shift to home based learning for 10 days ahead of a key national examinatio­n, according to the education ministry on Saturday.

Primary 6 students will go on a study break for a few days from Sept 25 before sitting for the national examinatio­n to minimize risk of school based transmissi­ons and reduce the number of students placed in quarantine.

The country is looking at vaccinatin­g children under the age of 12 early next year.

NZ slightly easing curbs

Down south from Singapore, New Zealand on Monday slightly eased coronaviru­s curbs in its largest city of Auckland, as the government expressed confidence that there was no widespread regional transmissi­on of the Delta variant.

But tough restrictio­ns will continue even after midnight on Tuesday, when the alert level drops to 3 from 4 in the city of about 1.7 million at the center of the latest Delta outbreak.

Schools and offices must still be kept closed, with businesses limited to offering only contactles­s services.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said residents must still keep to their own “bubbles”, no visits to friends or neighbors, or let children play together.

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