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15 Dec 2023

15th Dec 2023

As COVID-19 infections continue to rise, the Ministry of Health (MOH) is taking additional measures to ensure that our healthcare capacity remains protected. 

2.      The estimated number of COVID-19 cases in the week of 3 to 9 December 2023 rose to 56,043 cases, compared to 32,035 cases in the previous week. The average daily COVID-19 hospitalisations rose to 350 from 225 the week before, and the average daily Intensive Care Unit (ICU) cases increased to nine cases compared to four cases in the previous week. 

3.      Cases infected by JN.1, a sublineage of BA.2.86, currently account for the vast majority of the COVID-19 cases in Singapore. Based on the available international and local data, there is currently no clear indication that BA.2.86 or JN.1 are more transmissible or cause more severe disease than other circulating variants. 

4.      To preserve our healthcare capacity, MOH has been working with public hospitals for contingency planning, including ensuring adequate manpower and deferring of non-urgent electives to maximise bed capacity for urgent cases in need of acute care. In addition, hospitals are tapping on step-down facilities like Transitional Care Facilities and alternative care models like Mobile Inpatient Care@Home (MIC@Home) to ensure proper right-siting of patients. 

5.      MOH will also open the second COVID-19 Treatment Facility (CTF) this weekend to increase CTF capacity. The new CTF at Singapore EXPO Hall 10, together with the existing CTF at Crawfurd Hospital, will be able to care for more than 80 stable COVID-19 patients who do not require intensive hospital care. If the need arises, the CTF capacity at EXPO can be further increased.

Exercising personal and social responsibility 

6.      We urge the public to exercise personal and social responsibility. Individuals who are unwell with acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms should stay at home until symptoms resolve, and avoid contact with others. If they have to come into contact while unwell, they need to exercise social responsibility by wearing a mask, minimising their social interactions, and avoiding crowded places. 

7.      MOH also strongly encourages the public to wear a mask in crowded places even if they are not sick, especially in indoor settings, or when visiting or interacting with vulnerable persons. Travellers should adopt the relevant travel precautions, such as wearing a mask at the airport, purchasing travel insurance, and avoiding crowded areas with poor ventilation. Please visit MOH’s Health Advisory for Travellers at for more information.

8.      We urge the public to seek medical treatment at a hospital’s Emergency Department only for serious or life-threatening emergencies. This will preserve our hospital capacity for patients who truly need acute hospital care and allow those with severe illness to receive timely treatment.

Vaccination remains effective in protecting against severe illness

9.      Vaccination is our primary defence against COVID-19, and continues to be effective in preventing severe illness. MOH’s analysis shows that hospitalisation rates are considerably lower amongst those who have kept up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination (additional dose received within the last 12 months) compared with those who have not. 

10.      From 1 July to 30 November 2023, the monthly average incidence rate of hospitalised and ICU cases per 100,000 population for those who did not keep up to date with their COVID-19 vaccination was at 16.2, meaning this group is 1.6 times more likely to have severe COVID-19 requiring hospitalisation or ICU admission,  compared to those who had up-to-date vaccination (10.4 cases per 100,000 population).

Figure 1. Incidence rate of hospitalised and ICU cases per 100,000 population with minimum protection 
 Figure 1. Incidence rate of hospitalised and ICU cases per 100,000 population with minimum protection

11.      As immunity in the population wanes over time, we urge the public to keep their vaccination up to date to stay protected and maintain our collective resilience against COVID-19. Persons aged 60 years and above, medically vulnerable persons, and residents of aged care facilities are strongly advised to get the updated vaccine if their last dose was more than a year ago. All individuals aged six months and above are encouraged to receive the additional dose, particularly for healthcare workers and household members/ caregivers of medically vulnerable individuals.

12.      The updated COVID-19 XBB.1.5 Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty and Moderna/ Spikevax vaccines continue to be free at our Joint Testing and Vaccination Centres, participating Public Health Preparedness Clinics and selected polyclinics. Please refer to for the nearest vaccination site and the types of vaccines offered at each site.

Daily update of COVID-19 statistics

13.      Currently, the estimated COVID-19 case numbers are updated on the MOH website on a weekly basis. To provide the latest information on the situation during this period of surge in cases, the MOH website will be updated daily to reflect the latest estimated COVID-19 case numbers, starting from 19 December 2023.

14.      As COVID-19 testing is no longer routinely required in DORSCON Green, the number of reported COVID-19 cases is expected to under-represent the actual situation. To derive a more accurate estimate of the number of local COVID-19 cases, MOH calculates the estimated number of COVID-19 infections, taking into account the number of ARI attendances at the polyclinics, proportion of polyclinic ARI samples that test positive for COVID-19 for each epidemiological week, and the share of national ARI cases that are seen in polyclinics.

15.      Our society has weathered several infection waves and emerged more resilient each time, and we can similarly withstand this wave with everyone’s cooperation. We urge everyone to play their part in protecting themselves and their families, especially seniors and medically vulnerable persons.

15 DECEMBER 2023