Singapore’s PM says Omicron could lead to return of some curbs


Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. - Bloomberg

SINGAPORE, Nov 28 (Bloomberg): Singapore is watching the impact of the new omicron variant "very closely” and may be forced to roll back some easing measures it had taken to open up the economy, according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

"We are not sure yet, but we may be well be forced to take a few steps back before we can take more steps forward,” Lee said in a speech on Sunday at a convention by his ruling party.

"But despite all this, I’m confident we will find a way to living with the virus and safely resume all the things we love to do.”

Singapore has been easing border restrictions as part of a wider plan to take an endemic approach to the virus, similar to that of many other countries. But with the emergence of the new variant, several governments are taking fresh cautionary measures.

Israel and the U.K. have already imposed new travel restrictions to curb the spread of omicron, and Europe has discovered cases of the new variant across the continent.

Singapore will require travelers via land from Malaysia to take an antigen rapid test upon arrival when the vaccinated travel lane comes into effect on Nov. 29, the government said in a statement Sunday.

There were 1,761 new Covid-19 infections reported in Singapore on Saturday (Nov 27), up from 1,090 on Friday, reported The Straits Times.

The Covid-19 weekly infection growth rate was at 0.75, slightly up from 0.74 on Friday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its daily update.

This is the 15th consecutive day the growth rate is below one.

The number refers to the ratio of community cases in the past week over the week before. A weekly infection growth rate that is consistently below one shows the number of new weekly Covid-19 cases is falling.

The intensive care unit (ICU) utilisation rate was at 56.6 per cent on Saturday, up from 54.2 per cent on Friday.

There were six people aged between 55 and 82 who died of complications linked to Covid-19, MOH said.

All of them had various underlying medical conditions, the ministry added, without giving further details.

This takes the total number of fatalities in Singapore to 690. - Bloomberg L.P.

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