Singapore Registers New Record High COVID-19 Infections But The Country Is Still ‘Beating The Drums’ About Opening Up the Country To International Travel
Singapore COVID-19 News
: Not much was in the local Singapore mainstream news outlets about its record high 3,994 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours with many representing breakthrough infections and even requiring hospitalizations and a few even died despite being double vaccinated!
The country has been reporting more than 3,000 daily SARS-CoV-2 infections in recent days.
It should be noted that to date, over 84.5% of its population of 5.45 million people have been vaccinated with mainly the American Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccines.
The daily high number of SARS-CoV-2 infections are already dangerously straining the city-state's health care system, even as strict rules designed to curb the current outbreak are set to be reviewed within days
More patients are needing intensive care, the Singapore Ministry of Health said in a statement. The increase was likely due to a post-weekend surge, the ministry said, though it will continue monitoring cases to determine if it is part of a trend.
A Singaporean Ministry of Health spokesman said, "The number of persons requiring ICU care continues to rise, and this has put our hospitals under significant pressure and strain.”
The Ministry has asked residents to limit their social activities, especially the elderly population, and go out only for essential trips.
The Health Minister, Mr Ong Ye Kung said earlier this month that the city-state is working to increase the number of ICU beds to 180, up from 134, in anticipation of a rise in cases.
Interestingly, the continuing surge in infections is likely to test the government’s resolve to proceed with reopening within the community, with officials set to review measures introduced nearly a month ago to curb the virus’s spread. The spate of restrictions, including making work-from-home the standard and allowing a maximum of two people to meet in social settings, were put in place until Oct. 24.
Already there are growing signs of fatigue with the curbs. A rise in activity levels was observed over the past week, including more visitors to malls and a slight increase in use of public transportation, the health ministry said.
The seven-day average number of new infections in the Asian financial hub have more than tripled from a month ago and is now hitting more than 3,000 a day.
Meanwhile the country is boasting about its initiatives to open up the country to international travel.
The country welcomed its first travellers under an expanded quarantine-free programme this morning, marking a big step towards the aviation hub restoring its international links, despite a sharp rise in its domestic COVID-19 cases.
Two Singapore Airlines flights, one from Amsterdam and another from London arrived on Wednesday under the so-called vaccinated travel lanes (VTL) programme.
It was announced that from this week, the lanes will be extended to vaccinated arrivals from Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the US, who can enter Singapore without quarantine if they pass COVID-19 tests.
Despite this, American authorities advised citizens against travel to Singapore
In all it was reported that about 250 passengers arrived in Singapore on Wednesday (Oct 20) morning, on the first two flights under the expanded quarantine-free travel scheme for travellers vaccinated against Covid-19.
Local media said that flight SQ329 from the Netherlands, operated by Singapore Airlines, touched down at Changi Airport at about 6.35am with about 80 passengers on board.
An hour and a half later, SQ317 from London landed, with about 170 passengers.
According to Singapore COVID-19 News
, most of those who arrived were mainly single travellers or couples. And most were Caucasians.
It was reported that movement controls were tight at the arrival hall. Passengers were directed through an area cordoned off from the public.
These arriving travellers were seen being ushered by airport staff who were clad in disposal gowns, masks and gloves to take a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test before being directed to a specific taxi stand or pick-up point for their transport out of the airport. Family members or friends who had come to receive passengers were told to wait in a separate area.
The United Kingdom that is recording also extremely daily high COVID-19 infections is among eight countries that Singapore opened up Vaccinated Travel Lanes (VTLs) to from Tuesday-the Republic’s biggest move to reopen its borders since the Covid-19 pandemic.
It must be noted that there are lots of British flocking to Asia for employment and business opportunities, often competiting with the locals. Unlike the more distinguished Americans, Canadians or Australians, the British do not contribute much to the local communities they inhabit but rather display a slightly conceited and selfish behavior. In should also be noted that as a result of Brexit, their own economy is going ‘down the gutters’.
It was said that the other countries are the United States, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain.
It was reported that Singapore had earlier opened up VTLs to Germany and Brunei on Sept 8. The VTL scheme allows vaccinated travellers on designated flights to enter the Republic quarantine-free.
However, they must take a PCR test before departure and when they land at Changi Airport.
The country will also jointly launch VTLs with South Korea on Nov 15.
In the next few weeks as more surges materialize and cases get more severe, it will be interesting to see what happens in the international travel and hospitality industries again and also to see what happens in countries like Singapore, The United States, United Kingdom, India, China, Israel and the rest of Europe.
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