People wearing face masks as a preventive measure against the spread of Covid-19 in Singapore.
Maverick Asio | SOPA pictures | LightRakete | Getty Images
SINGAPORE – Singapore reported more than 1,000 Covid cases for two consecutive days on the weekend – the first time infections have exceeded this level since April 2020, at the height of the pandemic.
According to the Ministry of Health, the Southeast Asian country confirmed 1,009 new infections on Saturday and 1,012 new infections on Sunday.
That’s the highest number since April 23rd last year. At the time, most of the cases in Singapore were discovered in dormitories for migrant workers. The infections hit a record high of 1,426 on April 20, 2020.
Authorities have shied away from new restrictions in recent weeks, with ministers previously warning that Covid cases would rise above 1,000 as the country tries to live with the virus. The approach is in contrast to the government’s previous strategy which tightened measures on low double digits cases.
A large wave of infections and an exponential increase in daily cases is “almost like a rite of passage,” said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in a virtual press conference on Friday.
But more than 80% of Singapore’s population has already been vaccinated, which is different from that of other countries, he said.
There is no doubt that the country would have seen numerous deaths and an overburdened health system if the population hadn’t been vaccinated, Ong said.
“We have avoided that so far because of our very high vaccination coverage,” he said.
The government is now turning its attention to seriously ill patients and deaths, which have remained relatively low with 60 deaths since the pandemic began.
In the past 28 days, 98.1% of those infected were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, according to the Department of Health’s daily update.
Of 7,144 active cases as of September 19, 118 people require oxygen supplementation and 21 people are in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The Ministry of Health previously said it could increase the ICU capacity to 1,000 beds if necessary.
– CNBC’s Yen Nee Lee contributed to this report.