SINGAPORE — Singapore's weekly COVID-19 infection growth rate on Friday (21 January) rose to 2.7, the highest since it hit a peak of 3.01 on 30 August last year.
This comes a day after the rate – or ratio of community cases for the past week over the week before – surpassed two for the first time since 19 September, with 2.17 recorded on Thursday.
A figure of over one means that the number of new weekly cases is on the rise.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also added 10,264 infections to the country's total COVID-19 case count on Friday, bringing it up from 297,549 a day before to 307,813.
The huge jump in the numbers is because the ministry has backdated the numbers to 6 January, when general practitioners started to order Protocol 2, for the purposes of calculating the total number of infections in Singapore, as well as the week-on-week increase in infection numbers.
Starting from Friday, two sets of numbers will be reported daily – one for the usual cases confirmed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and another for Protocol 2 infections, which have not been previously published by the MOH.
The latter group refers to rapid antigen test (ART) positive cases seen at healthcare facilities. These infections have been assessed by a doctor to have low mild symptoms and low risk.
Reporting two sets of numbers "will give a better picture of the epidemic situation in Singapore, and which part of the epidemic curve we are on", said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung at a virtual press conference chaired by the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce earlier on Friday.
Due to the inclusion of Protocol 2 cases, 3,155 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Friday – including 2,794 local and 361 imported – up from 1,472 a day before.
Of the new local cases, 1,278 were detected via PCR tests, while 1,516 were detected via ART. Of the new imported cases, 338 were detected via PRC tests, while 23 were detected via ART.
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No separate numbers for Omicron cases
As Omicron has dominated the current infection wave, the MOH will also stop differentiating between Omicron and non-Omicron infections in their daily updates, Ong said.
To date, 12,078 Omicron cases have been detected here, he added, noting that "there are many others whom we cannot ascertain". However, only 34 – or less than 0.3 per cent of them – required oxygen supplementation.
One COVID-19 related death was reported on Friday, bringing the total number of people who have succumbed to the disease here to 846.
A total of 4,453 cases were discharged, while 360 remain warded. Of those still hospitalised, 19 require oxygen supplementation, while 13 are in the intensive care unit (ICU).
The MOH did not provide Friday's overall ICU utilisation rate. Over the last 28 days, of the 20,675 infected individuals, 99.6 per cent had no or mild symptoms.
As of Thursday, the total number of individuals who have completed their full regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines is 91 per cent of the eligible population.
Among the total population, 88 per cent have done so, while 90 per cent have received at least one dose, and 54 per cent have received their booster shots.
The figures include the more than 100,000 children aged five to 11 who have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of last Saturday.
Singapore authorities from Monday have begun progressively administering second vaccine doses to children.
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