The Ministry of Health (MOH) has announced a revamp of its daily COVID-19 reports on Wednesday (8 Sep), noting that it will no longer provide information on the number of linked and unlinked cases as this is “no longer as relevant as before”.
In a statement, MOH noted that Singapore is in a “very different stage” of its battle against COVID-19, given that 81 per cent of the country’s population have fully completed their vaccinations.
“With a high vaccination rate, we have just adjusted our measures to transit to a COVID-19 resilient nation.
“Recognising this, MOH has revamped our daily COVID-19 press releases again, to reflect the salient issues that we are facing in this new phase of the battle,” it stated.
MOH said that it is closely tracking the number of cases hospitalised with severe illness, and in the intensive care unit, to ensure “hospital capacity is not overwhelmed”.
The Ministry will also provide more information on large emerging clusters so that the public can avoid certain places, or regulate their own activities.
However, with the vaccination rate plateauing, MOH said it will not present a detailed report on the vaccination progress daily.
“We will also no longer provide information on the number of linked/unlinked cases as this is no longer as relevant as before, given our current strategy of living with COVID-19.
“From 9 September, we will transit to announcing updates on the local COVID-19 situation once a day, instead of twice a day currently,” it added.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung had earlier noted that it was “timely” for MOH to revamp its daily COVID-19 reports.
“As we are not chasing down every single case, which means unlinked numbers are also not as relevant as before,” he remarked.
MOH has stopped providing details of COVID-19 community cases
MOH announced earlier on 29 June that it will no longer disclose details of each new COVID-19 case detected in the community, as Singapore moves towards a new phase of battling the pandemic.
“Besides daily numbers, we will include information on the key trends of the local situation, clusters we are monitoring, progress of vaccination and the number of people who suffered a severe form of the disease,” the Ministry stated.
Previously, the MOH had provided detailed information on each new community case including when they were tested positive, places they had visited and which cases they had been linked too, as well as whether they had been vaccinated.
The Ministry noted that the decision was made by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, with a “strong focus on preventing the virus from spreading, vaccinating our population and starting the process to transit to a new normal”.
Netizens think Govt is hiding information from the public
A look through the comments section of CNA’s Facebook post on the matter reveals that MOH’s new report format has led netizens to think that the Government is withholding information from the public, and that MOH is only reporting in favour of the Government’s interest.
They pointed out that the recent increase in unlinked cases has prompted the Government to “hide” the number.
One netizen wrote: “Here we are experiencing exponential increase in cases, yet they still go ahead with this travel lane thing, and worse still- Hiding linked unlinked nos. Is this a subtle admission that their trace together is a huge failure and our taxpayer monies are wasted? How to even comply if they keep hiding information from us? These information help us make informed decisions.”
“This will allow them to hide whatever data [they] deem ‘unsuitable’ for the public, and only report those that [they] ‘want’ the public to know,” said another netizen.
Several other netizens are asking if the use of TraceTogether tokens will still be relevant, given that the MOH is no longer providing the number of linked and unlinked cases.