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07 Nov 2022

20th Oct 2021

     Singapore entered the Stabilisation Phase on 27 September 2021 to slow down the rate of transmission and ease the strain on our healthcare system. Over the past four weeks, we have set up more COVID-19 Treatment Facilities (CTF) and made improvements in the Home Recovery Programme (HRP). We also simplified our healthcare protocols, allowing individuals with mild or no symptoms to self-isolate early and recover at home. This has allowed hospital capacity to be reserved for the vulnerable. To better protect unvaccinated and vulnerable individuals, we further expanded coverage of Vaccination-Differentiated Safe Management Measures (VDS) to settings frequently visited by COVID-19 positive cases.


2.             We thank all Singapore residents for your cooperation with the safe management measures over the past month. The stabilisation measures have helped to moderate the rate of transmission. However, daily case numbers are continuing to rise, and we are still seeing many vulnerable patients needing intensive care unit (ICU) care. To allow more time for the situation to stabilise further, and to protect our healthcare system and workers, we will need to maintain our existing community safe management measures.  


Updates on Local COVID-19 Situation and Hospital Capacity


3.             So far the vast majority (98.6%) of cases continue to have mild or no symptoms. This is due to our high vaccination coverage, with 84% of the population having now completed their two-dose regimen. Of the 495 cases with severe illness in the past few days, a disproportionate proportion (54.7%) were unvaccinated, with the remainder being vaccinated individuals with co-morbidities. Unfortunately, the number of unvaccinated seniors above 60 years old who are infected has risen over the past few days, to about 100 a day.


4.             The number of persons requiring ICU care is continuing to rise at a similar rate as our overall case numbers, albeit with a lag. We have had 80 new cases in ICU over the past two weeks, as compared to 46 over the preceding two weeks.


5.             With the rise in cases, we are also seeing more infected persons being admitted into hospitals and treatment facilities. Currently, 1,738 cases (around 10% of COVID-19 patients) are admitted either into hospitals or CTFs because of more severe symptoms or co-morbidities which require close observation. Seniors above 60 years old and are not fully vaccinated comprise about two-thirds of the ICU cases and deaths.   


6.             We currently have about 1,650 isolation beds and 200 ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in the public hospitals. 89% of our isolation beds have been filled. The occupancy rates for ICU beds, which consist of existing COVID cases requiring ICU care, COVID-19 patients admitted to ICU for monitoring, as well as non-COVID patients, stands at about 67%.


7.             To cope with the increase in cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been proactively working with the public, community and private hospitals to set aside more beds for COVID-19 patients. We are currently operating a total of 4,200 hospital and CTF beds. Of these, about 200 are ICU beds, and another 100 can be stood up to handle ICU cases at short notice. To reduce the load, the hospital clinical teams have been actively referring more stable patients to CTFs for further monitoring. Patients who require less monitoring will be referred to Community Isolation Facilities (CIF) or HRP. The close coordination between the different facilities and teams has enabled more streamlined transfers to keep the hospitalisation numbers low.MOH is also working with community hospitals to operate more CTF-type beds to ensure continuity of care and assist in further recovery and rehabilitation of recovering older COVID-19 patients with co-morbidities.   


8.             Even as the public hospitals continue to set aside more beds for COVID-19 patients, we have observed longer admission waiting time for these patients. Hence, we have reduced non-urgent and non-life-threatening care treatments, to alleviate the pressure on public hospital capacity and manpower. Our private hospitals have also been mobilised to attend to some of these non-urgent patients from our public hospitals to ensure timely delivery of care.


Maintaining our Stabilisation Measures


9.             We entered the Stabilisation Phase on 27 September 2021 to slow the rate of transmission and protect our healthcare system. Unfortunately, given the continuing pressures on our healthcare system, more time is needed for the situation to stabilise. Hence, we will extend the Stabilisation Phase from 25 October 2021 through 21 November 2021. We will review the measures at the two-week mark and adjust these based on the community situation then.


Targeted Support Measures


10.          The Government will extend the support measures to tide affected businesses and individuals over the extended Stabilisation Phase from 25 October to 21 November 2021.


11.          The Government will extend the Jobs Support Scheme support at 25% for sectors significantly affected by the continuing tightened measures. These are: F&B, retail, cinemas, museums, art galleries, historical sites, family entertainment, tourism, gyms and fitness studios, and performing arts and arts education. Please refer to Annex A for details.


12.          The Government will provide a 0.5 month rental waiver for qualifying tenants on Government-owned commercial properties. Qualifying tenant-occupiers and owner-occupiers of privately-owned commercial properties will also be given a 0.5 month rental relief cash payout under the Rental Support Scheme (RSS)1. More details on the RSS will be made available on the Inland Revenue Authority Singapore (IRAS) website.


13.          Cooked food and market stallholders in centres managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA) or NEA-appointed operators will receive a 0.5 month rental waiver.


14.          To support taxi and private hire car drivers, we will also extend the COVID-19 Driver Relief Fund payout at $10 and $5 per vehicle per day in November2 and December 2021 respectively.


15.          The total sum of the support measures is $640m. This will be funded from the higher-than-expected revenues collected to-date. There will be no further draw on Past Reserves.


Protecting our Vulnerable Groups


16.          During this period, we strongly encourage everyone to practise social responsibility to abide by the prevailing safe management measures, test regularly, and seek medical treatment if feeling unwell. The elderly and persons with co-morbidities should take extra precautions as they are more vulnerable to severe illness should they get infected. Together, we will be able to ride out this wave of infections safely and emerge stronger.

20 October 2021

[1] Small and Medium Enterprises and eligible Non-Profit Organisations with an annual revenue not exceeding $100 million, who are tenant-occupiers or owner-occupiers of qualifying commercial properties, will be eligible for rental relief.
[2] This latest total payout of $10 per vehicle per day in November 2021 supersedes the $5 per vehicle per day payout announced previously.