Photo credit: REAGAN TAN

Singapore NCID director warns current COVID-19 situation is ‘likely more dangerous’ than last year’s

Dr David Lye warned that the COVID-19 situation is more serious than before due to mutant strains.

Effie Tan

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Published: 18 May 2021, 12:48 PM

The COVID-19 situation in Singapore is “likely more dangerous” than it was before the circuit breaker, a director at the National Centre for Infectious Disease (NCID) has said. 

Singapore has been facing a spike in unlinked community cases involving the new B1617 strain, also known as the double-mutant variant that was originally detected in India

In a WhatsApp message that has been circulated, Dr David Lye, director for infectious diseases research at NCID, said that last year’s COVID-19 outbreak was due to the cases in the migrant workers’ dormitories, but it was controlled with the help of resources. 

He warned that the current COVID-19 situation is more serious as 40 to 50 per cent of infected people have no symptoms and can still be infectious. Furthermore, 10 per cent of unvaccinated people may need oxygen if they are seriously infected. 

“The many cases with no linkage now suggest the spread to the community from the Changi Airport outbreak may be wide and far,” he wrote. 

Even though Singapore has effective vaccines and treatments, it still faces a threat from the new mutant strains that have already infected Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi Airport staff. 

Dr Lye suggested various measures to stay safe, including staying home, avoiding crowded places and refraining from socialising beyond small social bubbles. 

He also urged Singaporeans to get vaccinated and wear a mask properly in public spaces, including when taking walks in parks.

Dr Lye wrote: If you want to keep your family safe, you need to listen and do the above. If a country is overwhelmed like India, many will die including children and young people. 

My colleagues and I do not want to see you in NCID or any of the public hospitals.”

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