SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (15 February) confirmed 19,420 new COVID cases in Singapore's highest daily infection count ever since the start of the pandemic, and more than twice of Monday's 9,082 cases.
This surpasses the previous high of 13,208 new cases reported on 4 February and brings Singapore's total case count to 497,997.
Of Tuesday's new cases, 19,179 – or some 99 per cent – are local, including 16,102 detected via antigen rapid tests (ART) and 3,077 via polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. A total of 2,135 local infections are aged 11 and below, up from 1,189 the previous day.
The remaining 241 are imported: 59 were detected via ART while 182 were detected via PCR tests.
An additional seven deaths from the coronavirus disease were also confirmed, bringing the total death toll here to 913.
The weekly infection growth rate – or ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before – was 1.34 on Tuesday, down from 1.39 the day before. A figure of over one means that the number of new weekly cases is on the rise.
A total of 10,432 cases were discharged, while 1,355 remain warded, up from 1,332 hospitalised cases on Monday. This marks the 11th day in a row such cases have crossed the 1,000 mark.
Of those still hospitalised, 140 require oxygen supplementation, while 23 are in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The MOH did not provide Tuesday's overall ICU utilisation rate. Over the last 28 days, of the 191,882 infected individuals, 99.7 per cent had no or mild symptoms.
As of Monday, the total number of individuals who have completed their full regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines is 94 per cent of the eligible population.
Among the total population, 90 per cent have done so, while 92 per cent have received at least one dose, and 64 per cent have received their booster shots.
213,000 children aged 5-11 received at least first jab
The Ministry of Education (MOE) on Tuesday said that as of Sunday, about 213,000 children aged 5 to 11 have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while more than 120,000 have received their second dose.
Among the students in primary schools, about 79 per cent have signed up, with 75 per cent already having received at least their first dose, it added.
"We are on track for over 70 per cent of our primary school students to have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by end of February," said the MOE.
Separately, 23,500 pre-school children have registered for their vaccination, while close to 18,000 have received at least their first dose.
The MOE said that it will facilitate vaccinations for primary one to six students – below the age of 12 – in its schools by bussing them to the paediatric vaccination centres under the school-facilitated vaccination exercise.
On Monday, the Health Sciences Authority announced that Novavax's Nuvaxovid COVID-19 vaccine has been granted interim authorisation under the pandemic special access route for use in Singapore.
The protein-based vaccine can be given to those aged 18 years and above from 3 February. It will be one of two non-mRNA shots available under Singapore's national vaccination drive, alongside the inactivated CoronaVac developed by Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac.
Test centres to certify results of those with mild symptoms for free
The MOH in a separate press release on Tuesday afternoon announced that from 16 February to 15 March, those who test positive for COVID-19 on their ART – and have no or mild symptoms – can book an appointment at any combined test centre (CTC) or quick test centre (QTC) to do a supervised self-administered ART.
These supervised tests will be fully funded by the government during this four-week period. The test results will be updated in the MOH’s record and reflected in the patient's HealthHub within about 30 minutes.
The move will help ease the pressure on Singapore's general practitioner (GP) clinics and polyclinics and allow them to focus on patients who genuinely require medical attention, added the ministry.
"In recent weeks, GP clinics, polyclinics, and hospitals have continued to report a surge in the number of patients, many with no or mild symptoms visiting to get an ART conducted by a medical professional and officially documented in the MOH records," said the MOH.
The ministry also pointed out that the hospitals’ emergency departments have similarly received many patients who are not in need of emergency medical assistance.
"These visits are not necessary, and risk compromising the standard of care for those who genuinely require medical attention," it added.
An initial total of 48 CTCs and QTCs would offer such services, with authorities planning to expand them to about 205 by the end of the week. These centres will not issue recovery memos or medical certificates as these are not required by employees and students to return to work or school.
"Persons will be notified of their ART test result over (short message service) SMS. Upon testing positive on the supervised self-administered ART, these persons will be placed under Protocol 2 and can each collect three ART kits from vending machines," the ministry added.
They would have them have to self-isolate at home for at least 72 hours. Once they feel well and test negative on their self-administered ART, they may exit isolation to resume normal activities.
The public can book their supervised self-administered ART at https://go.gov.sg/community-ART-test.
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