Singapore's health ministry has reported a record 26,032 COVID-19 infections in the last 24 hours and asked patients with mild or no symptoms who have tested positive to consider self-recovery at home to reduce the pressure on the country's healthcare system. In his message to the media on Tuesday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has told the healthcare workers that his ministry and the workers’ management staff members will continue to do their best to support them “to pull through this difficult period,” and urged the public not to further strain the healthcare system.
“To help further reduce patient loads, in the coming days, we will push out public messages to encourage those with mild symptoms to recover from home, and for employers to not require medical certificates from workers infected with Covid-19,” the Channel News Asia quoted Ong as saying. “At the request of the Healthcare Services Employees’ Union, sick leave of healthcare workers can be recorded as hospitalisation leave during this period.
"For our foreign colleagues, we will also be starting a Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) with the Philippines soon, and restoring the VTL quota with India,” the minister said. Ong also asserted that the authorities are mobilising the healthcare volunteer corps and sought help from the Singapore Armed Forces to help address manpower shortages. “From the public’s point of view, they need to know that Omicron poses less of a risk. That way, they can respond to the infection wave calmly, recovering from home when their symptoms are mild, instead of rushing to hospitals," he explained.
The minister noted that the healthcare workers’ workload has been heavy, but stressed that MOH and the multi-ministerial task force handling the pandemic here will need to continue to explain to the public that the Omicron coronavirus strain is less severe than the Delta one. Singapore will have to deal with an Omicron transmission wave “so long as we hope to regain our normal lives”, Ong said. “With each day, our society becomes stronger and we move closer to normalcy. So, hang in there for a while more. It is no longer light at the end of the tunnel, but barring unforeseen circumstances, it is something within our grasp,” he added.
About 91 per cent of Singapore's 5.5 million population have been fully vaccinated, with a further 66 per cent having received a booster jab. Singapore reported the highest number of infections on Tuesday, 26,032 Covid-19 cases - 25,731 local and 301 imported infections. There were four coronavirus-linked fatalities, taking the death toll to 956. As on Tuesday, Singapore has recorded 622,293 cases since the start of the pandemic.
With PTI Inputs