As the number of community cases of COVID-19 continues to rise in Singapore, concerns are raised on whether another Circuit Breaker might be on the horizon.
Newly appointed Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday (16 May) that further monitoring by local authorities is needed before such a move is decided on at a later date.
On Sunday, Singapore reported 38 new community cases, 18 of which are unlinked. On top of that, there were 11 bew imported cases, bringing the total of the day to 49. It is the highest daily number of new COVID-19 infections reported since 14 April last year.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, Mr Ong said: “You can see the cases rising and whether the trajectory goes exponentially up or flatten – which did happen [during] Chinese New Year this year, we saw cases going up and then it flattened and then it disappeared – which direction it goes, we will only know in the coming days.
“So all I can say is as of now, we need to monitor the situation and then come to a decision later.”
He explained that there were questions that the authorities needed to find answers to.
Speaking on the stricter rules that have been implemented in Singapore Phase 2 (heightened alert) that is due to go on until 13 June, Mr Ong said that removing high-risk settings of enclosed spaces where people could take off their masks will make an impact on the number of cases in Singapore.
Additionally, that requirement as well as the move for all primary and secondary schools as well as junior colleges and Millennia Institute to shift to home-based learning would “reduce activity even more.”
He added, “We know there will be an impact and I think we will only know in the coming days.”
Mr Ong went on to note that the authorities are monitoring to see if these new measures would help to “flush out cases more quickly”.
The newly-appointed Health Minister also noted that the MOH is continuing its study into the severity of COVID-19 among those who were infected post-vaccination and those who had been infected by vaccinations persons.
“As of now, we can say that for the 76 individuals who were vaccinated at least with one dose due to this round of outbreak, none require ICU. But we need to dive deeper into the data,” said Mr Ong.
“So really seek answers to these questions and when the time is right, we will make the right decisions.
“And if it has to come to more stringent measures, as [Finance Minister Lawrence Wong] has said… we will do so. And if it is a [circuit breaker], we will say it is a [circuit breaker].”
According to a comparison chart by Mothership.sg, the current Phase 2 is not the same as the previous Phase 2 introduced after Phase 1 following the Circuit Breaker in April 2020, but more akin to Phase 1.5.