As Singapore’s COVID-19 case totals increase to the highest level for more than a year, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong has said this could affect the reopening of the country. 

In August, it was announced that up to 1,000 people would be allowed to attend live events in Singapore, less than a month after imposing a 500-person limit. 

This could now be affected as the Ministry of Health in Singapore has reported that 822 cases were currently in hospital with the virus and 76 cases had resulted in a serious illness requiring oxygen supplementation. A further nine patients were in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).

The ministry also announced that there were a further 807 new cases in Singapore yesterday (Wednesday). 

Wong is also co-chair of the coronavirus Taskforce in Singapore, and said recently that determining a reopening plan would be based on the number of patients in intensive care due to the virus. 

He said that at the moment there are 300 ICU beds available, which can be increased to 1,000 if necessary. If the numbers stay at a manageable level, Singapore will continue with the easing of restrictions. 

The Ministry of Health has also banned social gatherings for two weeks at workplaces in response to rising cases from canteens, as well as advising people to limit their social interactions to one meeting a day. 

Finance Minister Wong told reporters: “Please hold back, particularly during this period where there are so many cases and the virus is spreading so quickly. Scale and cut back on your social interactions if possible.”

At present, the Ministry of Health guidelines – which were updated on September 8 – still say that live events such as concerts and spectator sports can go ahead with 1,000 attendees that are vaccinated against COVID-19 and 50 unvaccinated ticket holders. 

Image: Swapnil Bapat on Unsplash