Omicron no more serious than other Covid variants at the moment: Singapore

There is currently no evidence to suggest that the symptoms associated with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 are different or more severe than those of other variants, or that current vaccines and treatments are ineffective against the new variant, according to a report. citing Singapore Ministry of Health (MS).

Channel News Asia reported that the ministry said two more people infected with the Omicron variant had passed through Singapore on their way to Malaysia and Australia.

More data and further studies on Omicron are needed, the health ministry said, adding that it expects more such cases to be reported globally in the coming weeks.

“If the Omicron variant was more heritable than Delta and became the globally dominant variant over time, it is only a matter of time before it establishes itself in Singapore,” the Ministry of Health said on Friday. Health.

“But the additional measures will save time to learn more about the management of Omicron and continue our recall program to strengthen our collective resilience for better protection against this new variant.”

The health ministry said it may need to introduce or adjust its “short-term” measures in response to the “fluid” situation.

Regarding Omicron infections transmitted through Singapore’s Changi Airport, the Department of Health said the first case traveled from Johannesburg on November 27 on a Singapore Airlines flight and arrived here the same day for its flight from transit.

The passenger then traveled to Sydney on another Singapore Airlines flight arriving on November 28.

Australia’s New South Wales Department of Health confirmed on Friday that he was a positive case, the Department of Health said in a statement on Friday.

The man had previously tested negative on November 24 before leaving South Africa and remained in the transit holding area at Changi Airport until leaving for Sydney, the Ministry of Justice said. Health.

The second traveler arrived from Johannesburg via the Singapore Airlines flight on November 19 and was in the transit holding area until leaving for Malaysia the same day.

This case was reported earlier as the first detected case of the Omicron variant in Malaysia.

In a briefing earlier on Friday, Malaysian Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said the traveler was a 19-year-old female student at a private university in Ipoh, Perak state in northern Perak state. Malay Peninsula, and that she had completed her COVID-19 vaccination.

Singapore’s health ministry said on Friday evening that 15 passengers on the flight had been identified as its close contacts, but none had entered Singapore or interacted with the city-state community, and all had remained in the transit waiting area.

Contact tracing is ongoing for both cases, and there is currently no evidence of community transmission from them, according to a Straits Times report citing the Department of Health.

Meanwhile, all travelers entering Singapore via vaccinated traffic routes (VTLs) will soon have to pass COVID-19 tests daily for seven days upon arrival as the country tightens measures against the Omicron variant.

This means that there will be additional swabs in addition to the current requirement for pre-departure testing, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing on arrival, as well as supervised rapid antigen testing ( ART) on days 3 and 7 of their visit.

The new testing requirement will take effect on Dec.6 at 11:59 p.m., the Department of Health said on Friday. It will remain in place for four weeks “at first instance” until 11:59 p.m. on January 2, 2022, the ministry added.

Additional tests – days 2, 4, 5, and 6 – are self-administered and will be performed using ART. Travelers must submit their results online using a link that will be sent to them via their declared contact details.

On days 3 and 7, ART will be performed in a supervised setting at a combined test center or rapid test center.

“Day 3 is the median incubation period and day 7 is the release day from this testing protocol,” the Department of Health said.

“During that seven-day period, except on days when they go out for their supervised testing, these travelers should test negative on their self-administered ART before going out for activities on that day,” Channel News Asia said citing the ministry.

This new test regime will also apply to travelers arriving from Malaysia using the land VTL from 11.59pm next Monday. These travelers must already pass a pre-departure test and a TAR on arrival.

The new testing regime comes amid concerns about the new Omicron variant.

Singapore detected its first two cases earlier this week, when two imported cases tested “preliminary positive” for the variant. The National Public Health Laboratory performs whole genome sequencing to confirm the Omicron variant.

“We have also closely followed studies on the sensitivity of ART to the Omicron variant,” the Department of Health said.

“Preliminary validation by manufacturers shows that ARTs remain effective in detecting cases of COVID-19 from the Omicron variant, and laboratories are performing further biochemical tests to confirm these results,” he added.

“These early results give confidence that ART remains effective as a method of detecting COVID-19, including Omicron cases,” the channel said, citing the Ministry of Health.

Singapore reported 766 new COVID-19 cases and nine coronavirus-related deaths on Friday.

Singapore had reported 2,67,916 COVID-19 cases and 744 coronavirus-related deaths as of Friday since the start of the pandemic.

(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)