Singapore’s Minister for Well being Ong Ye Kung informed Parliament Monday thOn The federal authorities Isn’t imposing new restrictions on vacationers from China as a Outcome of restricted flight performance, mixed with its current border insurance coverage policies, have Outcomeed in few imported circumstances — and even fewer extreme circumstances — coming from China.
Ong said The federal authorities is “acutely conscious” that some Singaporeans are apprehensive that an inflow Of vacationers from China might Finish in An enhance in infections.
However he said journey volumes between Singapore and China are “very low” — with fewer than 1,000 people arriving from China Daily.
“As of now, we run 38 weekly flights from China to Singapore, As in contrast with round 400 flights pre-Covid,” he said.
Ong acknowledged that A mannequin new, extra dangerous variant might emerge from China Since the virus spreads by way of its inhabitants of 1.4 bunproperlyion, but said that So far, this has not materialized.
With in depth vaccination safety, We will deal with Covid-19 as an endemic illness.
Ong Ye Kung
Singapore’s Minister for Well being
Ong said Singapore is monitoring this by way of GISAID, a non-revenue group that he said is buying viral sequencing knowledge from authorities in primary Chinese language cities and provinces, Similar to Beijing, Shanghai and Sichuan, which is processed in GISAID’s Singapore office.
Although there are “gaps Inside The information,” Ong said, “So far, The information reveals thOn the epidemic in China is pushed by variants That are properly-acknowledged and have been circulating in completely different areas of the world” — particularly BA.5.2 and BF.7.
Current guidelines are efficient
So far, Greater than a dozen nations have introduced new guidelines for visitors from China. However Ong said Singapore Did not, as a Outcome of it already has efficient border measures in place.
“Many nations have dismantled all their border measures,” he said. “Singapore … stored related measures precisely as a Outcome of we anticipated these risks.”
Singapore’s Well being Minister Ong Ye Kung attends A gathering On the G-20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, on Oct. 27, 2022.
Sonny Tumbelaka | Afp | Getty Pictures
He said that whereas “many Singaporeans have forgotten about it,” all vacationers Want to be both absolutely vaccinated or look at adverse for Covid earlier than Getting into, which Is analogous requirement that Spain recently introduced for vacationers from China.
While South Korea has reported that As a lot as 80% of its imported circumstances are coming from China, Ong said that, in December, Decrease than 5% of Singapore’s imported circumstances — about 200 people — have been from China, whereas “ASEAN nations accounted for over 50%.”
In The identical month, seven imported circumstances turned extremely unproperly, and Simply one was from China, he said.
“Most have been Singaporeans Coming back from these nations and areas,” he said. “These Aren’t huge numbers, so the influence on our healthcare system was very small.”
Singapore’s ‘grealook at concern’
The authorities’s “grealook at concern” is the emergence of A mannequin new, extra dangerous variant That would escape vaccine safety — “a nightmare variant [that] can knock us again to virtually sq. one,” Ong said.
If that occurs, “We might Want to reinstate measures Similar to strict border controls, quarantine for vacationers, social restrictions collectively with restrict on group sizes, till A mannequin new and efficient vaccine is developed.”
To watch this, Singapore wunproperly primarytain plugged into the “worldwide surveunproperlyance system,” he said.
Ong said The completely different key concern is defending Singapore’s health-care system. He said that Through the early levels of the pandemic, infections have been The federal authorities’s primary concern, but as vaccines have been rolled out, It is now focused on extreme infections.