As alarm increases over the new ‘immunity-evasive’ Omicron variant of Covid-19 called the XBB strain, the health minister of Singapore, where the variant is dominating, has said the current wave of Covid-19 in the country will peak by mid-November.
“This is likely to be a short and sharp wave," Ong was quoted as saying by Channel News Asia, and the leader has estimated that Singapore will see about 15,000 cases per day on average by then.
According to the Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH), hospital cases peaked at 800 in July, and hospitals in Singapore, while stretched, were able to cope.
Over the last month, the proportion of cases with the XBB strain, an Omicron subvariant, has increased in Singapore. Despite being highly transmissible, it has not caused more severe disease than previous variants, experts have said.
On October 14, there were 9,087 new Covid-19 cases reported in Singapore, with nine in intensive care units. A total of 562 patients were admitted to the hospital, with 44 requiring oxygen. The infection ratio is 1.64 week on week, the report said.
In Singapore, XBB is now the most common subvariant, accounting for 54% of local cases from October 3 to 9. Cases have been found in India, Australia, Bangladesh, Denmark, Japan, and the United States, among other nations. Ong has also said evidence suggests that XBB is causing an increase in reinfections.
According to reports, Omicron’s new XBB subvariant has now accounted for 71 cases across a few states in India, with Maharashtra reporting its first five infections on Thursday, joining West Bengal, Odisha, and Tamil Nadu on the list. Odisha reported 33 cases in a fortnight, followed by Bengal (17) and Tamil Nadu (16), according to reports.
In India, scientists involved in genome sequencing said that BA.2.75 was responsible for approximately 88% of new infections, while the XBB subvariant was responsible for approximately 7% of all cases. The prevalence of BA.5 in samples is now less than 5%.