Amid soaring COVID-19 cases in Singapore, the government has extended its 'stabilisation phase', after the country has reported 18 deaths and nearly 3,800 new cases on Wednesday. According to reports, it was the highest death toll reported in a single day since the COVID-19 hit the nation.
With the latest order, social gatherings have been capped to a maximum of two people and calls for work from home. The report said that the 'stabilisation' order would be applicable till November 21. Notably, the country had invoked the "stabilisation phase" on September 27 for the first time and was scheduled to end on October 24. The move was initiated to reduce the strain on the country's healthcare system. The directive also capped social gatherings to a maximum of two people and directed the corporate offices to assign work from home to their employees.
"Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise," news agency PTI quoted Channel News Asia as saying by one of the health ministry officials.
The country's health ministry official said that the action came after the authorities reviewed the health care facilities. He informed the media house that the next decision would probably come in the next two weeks after a thorough review of the health condition.
As per an official statement, the country has witnessed a rise in vulnerable cases in the past four months and added that the results could be easily witnessed at various hospitals. He said that the patients were occupying the intensive care units (ICU) as they were facing severe lung-related infections. Notably, the Coronavirus cases hovered around 3,000 a day and hit a high of 3,994 on Tuesday.
"To allow more time for the situation to stabilise further, and to protect our healthcare system and workers, we will need to maintain our existing community safe management measures," the ministry said.
The ministry informed that nearly 89% of isolation beds and 67% of ICU beds, including those for non-COVID-19 patients, in public hospitals have been filled within the past two weeks. It informed that the public hospitals have 1,650 isolation beds and 200 ICU beds. "Even as the public hospitals continue to set aside more beds for COVID-19 patients, we have observed longer admission waiting time for these patients," the ministry stated.
While speaking to the reporters, Singapore's Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who has also been given the charge of managing COVID-19 said it is "too risky" to allow five people from the same household to dine in together, but it is a move authorities will look into.
"For now, we think it's still too risky to make such a move because of the pressure on the healthcare system, but it is indeed something we are looking into," Wong said. Further, the Ministry of Health informed that 84% of Singapore's population had been fully vaccinated against the deadly virus, and 85% had received at least one dose as of October 19. Amid rising cases, several countries including, the United States suggested their citizens avoid travelling to Singapore. On Monday, October 18, the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department issued travel advisories to Americans, warning them not to visit Singapore citing a "very high level of COVID-19" in the country.