The number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore is decreasing; the WHO recommends close monitoring of the BQ.1 variant.
The week-to-week infection ratio peaked at 1.74 on October 9 and has since fallen.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore’s Covid-19 case count is declining, with the seven-day moving average peaking at 8,243 cases on October 18. As of October 28, the figure had dropped significantly to 5,193.
The week-on-week infection ratio, which refers to the ratio of community cases over the previous week, peaked at 1.74 on October 9 and has since fallen.
This comes just a week after Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said the ongoing wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the XBB subvariant could peak before mid-November.
On Sunday, Professor Dale Fisher, senior consultant at the National University Hospital’s Division of Infectious Diseases, stated that there are signs that the outbreak has peaked.
As of Oct 29, there were 463 patients in hospitals (general ward), down from a high of nearly 600 about 10 days ago.
These figures will continue to fluctuate as new variants emerge around the world, according to Prof Fisher.
Separately, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated in an update on the XBB variant on October 27 that while more research is needed, current data does not indicate significant differences in disease severity for XBB infections. However, there is preliminary evidence that suggests a higher risk of reinfection when compared to other circulating Omicron sub-lineages. Another Omicron subvariant is the XBB strain.
According to the WHO, whether the increased immune escape of XBB is enough to drive new infection waves will depend on factors such as the size and timing of previous Omicron waves, as well as the level of Covid-19 vaccination coverage in each country.
The WHO noted that BQ.1 is showing a significant growth advantage over other circulating Omicron sub-lineages in many settings, including Europe and the United States, and thus warrants close monitoring in an update on the new variants that have also been detected in Singapore.
However, there is no information on the severity or immune escape from human studies.
As of Oct. 23, Singapore had four Covid-19 cases infected with the BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 variants. The subvariants BQ.1 and BQ.1.1 are sub-lineages of the Omicron variant BA.5. The strains have since been found in over 50 countries. BQ.1.1 has one more mutation than BQ.1, which is a few mutations removed from BA.5.2.
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