A transmission electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. (File Photo: AFP / National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Handout)
SINGAPORE: Early clinical observations around the world suggest that the COVID-19 variant of Omicron may be more transmissible and carry a higher risk of reinfection compared to the Has delta and beta variants of the virus, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on Sunday (December 5). .
“This means that people who have recovered from COVID-19 are more likely to get infected again with the Omicron variant,” said the Ministry of Health in an update on the Omicron variant. </ As the new variant spreads around the world, Singapore "must expect to discover more cases at our borders and in the future in our community," added MOH.
The ministry said it had reports in recent days from South Africa and other countries and actively engaged experts in affected countries to obtain first hand information.
“This press release updates our understanding of the Omicron variant, even if many questions remain without clear answers,” said MOH. Studies on whether existing COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the new variant are ongoing, but “Scientists around the world are taking the view that existing COVID-19 vaccines are being used by Grandma cron variant will still work, especially in protecting people from serious illnesses “. “Said MOH.
The ministry urged those eligible to get vaccinated or have their booster vaccination, and said there was strong scientific consensus that this should be done before all existing and future variants of COVID- 19.
Addressed concerns about the severity of this strain of the virus, saying that Omicron cases “mostly showed mild symptoms and no Omicron-related deaths have been reported”.
Regarding reports, that there were more Omicron-related hospital admissions in South Africa, MOH said this could be due to an overall high infection rate in the population.
Another factor could be that existing patients who have been diagnosed with non-COVID-19 related reasons were hospitalized, could have tested positive for the variant in the hospital About the severity of the disease, “said MOH.
” The outbreak was first spotted in a university town with a younger population. According to the South African health experts, hospital stays for this population group have so far been short, around a day or two. “
The ministry said it needed to collect more information on elderly people infected with the Omicron variant in order to assess whether it is more severe than the Delta variant.
The Department of Health said previous studies show that rapid antigen tests, in addition to polymerase chain reaction tests, are effective in detecting COVID-19 infection, including Omicron cases.
The ministry also said it will “continue to coordinate with health authorities worldwide to investigate and understand the Omicron variant in order to develop the best possible response.”
The update from MOH will come after two imported cases in Singapore tested “preliminary positive” for the Omicron COVID-19 variant on Thursday.
The passengers were m he isolated on a Singapore Airlines flight on December 1 and had no community interaction, the ministry said last week.
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