International evidence has suggested that the Omicron variant is less severe than the Delta variant.
From Dec 27, all Omicron cases will be placed under the Home Recovery Programme or treated at community care facilities depending on their clinical presentation, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
They are also allowed to follow Protocols 1-2-3 as per COVID-19 cases.
Under this arrangement, a person who is unwell or tests positive for COVID-19 will have to self-isolate at home and follow the recovery procedure provided by MOH.
If a person is well but tests positive, they will have to self-isolate for the first 72 hours and conduct antigen rapid tests (ARTs) until the result is negative.
If a person is identified as a close contact of an infected person, they will have to take an ART and submit their results at go.gov.sg/agsubmit. Thereafter, they have to continue to do ARTs and only go out if the result is negative. If their result is negative after seven days of testing, no further tests are needed.
MOH said in its press release on Dec 26 that “international evidence indicates that the Omicron variant is likely to be more transmissible but less severe than the Delta variant, and that vaccines, especially boosters, retain substantial protection against hospitalisations caused by Omicron”.
As of Dec 25, a total of 546 confirmed Omicron cases were detected in Singapore, with 443 imported cases and 103 local cases. MOH have said this was not unexpected given the high transmissibility of the variant.
With an updated understanding of the variant, MOH has pivoted its approach. Previously, Omicron cases were not allowed to serve stay-home recovery at all.
While Omicron cases are now to recover at home or at community facilities, close contacts will be placed on Protocol 3, where they will be issued a seven-day Health Risk Warning, instead of being quarantined for 10 days.
Those currently serving quarantine will also be progressively discharged over the next few days.
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