Over the past few days, we observed a 35% to 40% week-on-week increase in COVID-19 daily cases. This translates to 900 to 1,000 more cases every day.
Thus far, there has been no indication that the increase in cases has led to more severe diseases, and there has been no significant impact on our healthcare system due to the higher number of daily infections.
We have however noticed two underlying changes.
First, the proportion of reinfections has increased from about 6% of all reported cases from the beginning of September, to about 10% this week.Notwithstanding this, reinfections account for only a small proportion of the rise in cases and are not the main driver for the higher number of cases.
Second, there is an increase in infections by the Omicron variant BA.2.75, which account for about a quarter of all daily infections.
The BA.2.75 variant has been around for some time, and has been detected in many countries including Australia, China, Europe, India, Malaysia and the US. It is now circulating more widely in our population, due to social mixing and gatherings, and relaxing of masking rules. This is most likely the main reason for the increase in cases.
There has been no evidence of increased disease severity associated with BA.2.75 in the international literature or in our local context.
We expect to see higher numbers of cases over the next few weeks, and will continue to monitor the situation closely.
In the meantime, we urge those who have not received their booster shots to do so. Individuals will need three shots of mRNA vaccine or four shots of Sinovac-CoronaVac to be adequately protected against the current variants of COVID-19.
Members of the public are also encouraged to continue to exercise personal and social responsibility and caution, such as wearing masks when in crowded places, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable persons. Individuals who are unwell should continue to stay at home and avoid going out. If they feel unwell when out or in the workplace, they should go home immediately to rest or see a doctor.