Singapore expected to modify COVID-19 count to exclude mild cases

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June 30 (UPI) — Singapore soon could modify COVID-19 measures, including its daily case count, while suspending contact tracing as health authorities advocate a return to a “new normal,” authorities said.

The country’s health ministry said it no longer will provide information on the location of infected people and the date they tested positive for the novel coronavirus, Singapore’s Straits Times reported Wednesday.

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The ministry also said daily case numbers will continue to be reported, though with less emphasis on mild cases of COVID-19 that do not require hospitalization — an indication that patients who experience minimal symptoms may not be included in the case count.

There will now be a “strong focus on preventing the virus from spreading, vaccinating our population and starting the process to transit to a new normal,” the ministry said.

Modified case counts previously were recommended by Singapore’s top authorities.

“As more people get vaccinated, the way Singapore monitors daily COVID-19 infection numbers will change,” said Trade Minister Gan Kim Yong, Finance Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung in an opinion piece last week in the Straits Times.

“Following a path similar to how it tracks influenza infections, Singapore will monitor those who fall seriously sick or how many are in intensive care units. Infected people will be allowed to recover at home. We will worry less about the health care system being overwhelmed.”

Singapore’s confidence the pandemic will stay under control with less monitoring is a direct result of high vaccination rates. Two-thirds of the population is expected to have received their first vaccine dose by early July, CNN reported Wednesday.

The city-state has been averaging about 18 cases daily in the past 30 days, and reported 36 deaths since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Outbreaks continue to be reported, however.

Channel News Asia reported Wednesday that a new cluster of infections has occurred after a 76-year-old woman visited Singapore General Hospital. The cluster had a total of three cases, the report said.