COVID-19: Singapore, with 84 per cent population vaccinated, sees rise in cases

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October 30, 2021 11:44 AM

According to the Ministry of Health, 16 fatalities linked to the coronavirus and 4,248 new infections were reported on Friday.

covid 19 cases in singaporeCyclists pass the city skyline during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore October 28, 2021.(Photo source: Reuters)

Singapore has registered over 4,000 fresh COVID-19 cases, including 536 from residents of dormitories for migrant workers, even as 84 per cent of its population has been fully vaccinated. According to the Ministry of Health, 16 fatalities linked to the coronavirus and 4,248 new infections were reported on Friday. Those who died were aged between 44 and 90 and had various underlying medical conditions.

The 16 fatalities have taken Singapore’s death toll from the coronavirus to 380. So far, the country has reported 192,099 COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, the ministry said. As of Thursday, 84 per cent people in Singapore have received the full regimen or two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 85 per cent have received at least one dose and 14 per cent have received their booster shots, a third dose, it said.

To further promote vaccination, the Health Promotion Board (HPB) is offering a Singapore dollar 30 (USD 22) e-voucher to those referring unvaccinated seniors aged 60 and above for vaccination.”Seniors 60 and above, especially if unvaccinated, continue to be more adversely affected by COVID-19,” said the ministry.

The ‘Let’s Get Our Seniors Vaccinated’ programme was launched on August 13 and will run until November 30, according to the HealthHub website. Meanwhile, restrictions on crowds have impacted the Diwali sales at the Little India shopping precincts here.

Businesses in Little India, an Indian-origin shopping precinct and traditionally the heart of festivities among Indians here, have reported subdued Diwali sales amidst the ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on crowds, according to local media reports on Saturday.Crowds have also paled in comparison to the festive period last year, when there were fewer restrictions on social gatherings, the Channel News Asia reported, citing stallholders.

Singapore’s COVID-19 restrictions under the Stabilisation Phase were originally scheduled to last until October 24, but have been extended for another month, covering the Diwali holiday which falls on November 4. Under the rules, social gatherings are capped to two a group.

Kathija, who sells festive cookies and snacks under the brand Alisa Mahal, said of the thinner crowds, “Last time, the whole family would come. Now it’s only one person coming. You can see the difference.” Her sales have dipped 30 per cent compared to a year ago, and are just half of what they were pre-pandemic.

“First of all, (people) are afraid to go out. And I also think that money is an issue because a lot of people are not working, so they just buy smaller bottles, and then they just buy for prayers,” the Channel quoted as saying Kathija, who gave only one name.She added, “The festive mood is there, but because of low budgets and the cases are going higher and higher, everybody is worried.” Amba Ji Boutique operator Rai said that sales have been poor as customers have been “very hard-pressed”.

The area has been “quiet” in the lead up to Diwali, said Rai, who also gave one name.There is no midnight Diwali shopping as has been during the past festivals.Prema T, who helps run Jothi Store and Flower Shop, footfall in the daytime is “still okay”. But “now (past 9 PM) it’s already a bit slow. Last time, until 11 PM, 12 AM, you could see the bus stops were full of people.” “I think a lot of them are quarantined or maybe they are just scared to go out,” Prema told the Channel.

Shops in the precinct are reporting manpower crunch and delay in stock arriving from India due to border closures though the authorities are now allowing in workers from South Asian countries.

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