Singapore Expects 2,000 Covid Deaths a Year Among Elderly, Sick
(Bloomberg) -- Singapore, one of countries with the highest Covid vaccination rates in the world, could still see 2,000 deaths from the coronavirus each year with most victims among old and sick people, a government minister said on Monday.
The death rate from Covid stands at 0.2% in Singapore and is comparable to that of pneumonia before the pandemic, when about 4,000 patients -- mostly elderly and unwell -- would succumb to influenza and other respiratory diseases, Janil Puthucheary, a senior minister in the health ministry, told parliament. Although the health care system is stressed, it hasn’t been overwhelmed, he said.
“We are trying to get to the point where the combination of high vaccination rates, booster jabs and even more boosting from mild infections means that Covid-19 will no longer spread as an epidemic in Singapore,” Puthucheary said. He said the country wanted to reach that state without excess mortality, meaning without seeing more overall deaths than before the pandemic.
Singapore has recorded 407 Covid-related deaths as of Oct. 31, according to the health ministry. While the city-state has vaccinated 84% of its 5.45 million population, infections recently rose to more than 3,000 per day. Although most show few or no symptoms, the rise in cases prompted the government to further restrict social life.
More from Puthucheary:
- About 18% of hospital beds in acute public hospitals are taken up by Covid-19 patients, with the occupancy rates of all general ward beds at 90% and isolation beds at 85%.
- 130 people are critically ill and occupying around 60% of the 219 intensive care unit beds reserved for Covid patients
- About 1,500 health care workers resigned in the first half of 2021, compared with 2,000 annually pre-pandemic.
- “Already our hospitals are feeling the manpower crunch,” he said. “Signs of fatigue can be seen amongst our healthcare workers.”
- Close to 500 foreign doctors and nurses have quit in the first half, compared with around the same number of resignations in the whole of last year, and about 600 in 2019
- READ: Singapore Boosts ICU Beds as Serious Infections Remain High
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