Singapore strengthens border measures over concerns about Omicron variants


Singapore will adopt stricter medical protocols to address concerns about Omicron variants, Health Minister On Ye Kung of the Multi-Ministry Task Force announced. Press conference November 30th.

According to On, the city-state’s existing approach to processing delta variants is to “coexist” with it, but the new protocol aims to “include” new omicron variants.

The first Omicron mutant detected in South Africa shows a large number of mutations and may increase the risk of reinfection. that is”Variant of concernBy the World Health Organization on November 26th.

With the new measures, the Singaporean government hopes to gain time to better understand highly mutated variants.

Tighter border control

Under the new measures, stricter border control will be imposed.

Travelers entering or passing Singapore after December 2, 2021 will have a negative pre-departure test result and will be required to undergo a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival.

Travelers arriving in Singapore after December 2nd will also need an additional supervised Antigen Rapid Test (ART) at designated test centers on the 3rd and 7th days of arrival.

No options for home recovery

Individuals suspected of being infected with Omicron are admitted to the National Institute of Infectious Diseases (NCID). Confirmed cases remain in the NCID until they are determined to be non-infectious by repeated testing. There are no Home Recovery Program (HRP) options.

Currently, individuals who have no serious medical condition and are judged positive are Placed in HRP By default, it excludes certain groups that may be at high risk of severe illness.

Full contact tracing is done. Contacts are quarantined and tested by PCR.

Push to continue vaccination

There is There is no clear conclusion Still, there are pressing concerns about the Omicron variant, such as whether it is more contagious compared to other variants.

Important aspects to note, according to On, are the incubation and infection periods, the function of rapid antigen testing (ART) to detect infection, the severity of infection, and the existing for highly mutated variants. Includes vaccine efficacy.

Despite these unknowns, the promotion of vaccination in Singapore will continue.

Current, 94 percent Eighty-five percent of the eligible population has completed a complete vaccination program, accounting for 85% of Singapore’s total population. Meanwhile, 26% of the total population has received booster shots.

According to the Minister of Health, vaccinations for children aged 5 to 11 are also being prepared.

Of the cases infected with the South African Omicron variant, 65% have not been vaccinated and the remaining 35% have been partially vaccinated. Rudo Mathivha, Head of the Intensive Care Unit at Baragwanat Hospital in Soweto.

In reference to the situation in South Africa, Ong said: “These are very short early data, but they suggest that vaccines may still be effective and emphasize the importance of vaccines. If anything, it is now faced by the world. It’s a much more valuable insurance against the big unknown. “

Recent detections of new variants have triggered alarms around the world. Cases of infection with the Omicron variant have been reported in more than 10 countries and regions, including Australia, Canada and Hong Kong.

The two cases imported from Johannesburg are “BeforehandWas detected in Singapore on December 2nd as an Omicron infection.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cindy Riu