1,000 more COVID cases per day in Singapore, driven by 'Centarus' BA.2.75 strain: MOH

People sitting in a designated smoking area in the Marina Bay area in Singapore on 31 July, 2022, during the COVID-19 pandemic (PHOTO: NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People sitting in a designated smoking area in the Marina Bay area in Singapore on 31 July, 2022, during the COVID-19 pandemic (PHOTO: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — About 1,000 more COVID-19 cases are being reported every day in Singapore over the past few days, with the Omicron BA.2.75 strain on the rise and accounting for some 25 per cent of daily infections.

The number of COVID-19 daily cases has risen 35 to 40 per cent week-on-week, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press statement on Friday (30 September).

"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," MOH added.

Singapore's weekly COVID-19 infection growth rate rose to 1.29 on Thursday, up from 1.03 a week earlier, according to MOH's website.

The rate refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week over the previous week, where a figure of more than one means that the number of new weekly cases is increasing.

MOH noted two underlying changes driving the increase in cases, adding that the number is expected to rise over the next few weeks.

One change is the increase in infections by the BA.2.75 strain, unofficially dubbed “Centaurus”, which has been detected in several other countries including Australia, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, and the US.

The main reason likely driving the increase in such cases is that the strain is circulating more widely in Singapore's population due to social mixing and gatherings as well as the relaxing of masking rules a month ago, MOH said.

"There has been no evidence of increased disease severity associated with BA.2.75 in the international literature or in our local context," it noted.

The other change is the rising proportion of reinfections, which has increased from about 6 per cent of all reported cases in the beginning of September, to about 10 per cent this week.

However, the MOH stressed that reinfections account for only a small proportion of the rise in cases and are not the main driver for the higher number of infections.

MOH urged 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," MOH said.

Members of the public are encouraged to continue exercising social responsibility and caution, such as wearing masks in crowded places, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable people.

Those who are unwell should continue to stay at home and avoid going out. If they are out or in the workplace, they should go home immediately to rest or see a doctor, according to MOH.

As of Thursday, Singapore has had 1,904,192 reported COVID-19 cases and 1,617 related deaths.

As of Wednesday, 92 per cent of Singapore's total population have completed the full vaccination regime, while 79 per cent have received their booster shots.

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