Singapore could see 2,000 COVID-19 deaths every year – minister – Community News

Singapore could see 2,000 COVID-19 deaths every year – minister

Cyclists pass the city skyline during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore on Oct. 28, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su

SINGAPORE, Nov. 1 (Reuters) – Singapore could see 2,000 COVID-19 deaths annually over time, mostly among the elderly, but it was focused on preventing excess mortality, a minister said Monday, as the country fights against the largest increase in infections.

At 0.2%, Singapore’s COVID-19 death rate is comparable to the number of deaths from pneumonia before the pandemic hit, said Janil Puthucheary, a senior secretary of state in parliament.

It’s also lower than other countries where pre-vaccination cases rose, he said.

“But it does mean that the absolute number of deaths from COVID-19 will increase over time, despite the best possible medical care,” he said. “We could have maybe 2,000 deaths a year from COVID-19.”

The minister has not indicated for how many years that estimate could apply. Singapore had 4,000 deaths a year from flu and other pre-pandemic respiratory illnesses, he said.

More than 80% of Singapore’s 5.45 million residents are fully vaccinated and nearly all cases are asymptomatic or mild. About 95% of those who died in the past six months were over the age of 60 and 72% of those who died were not fully vaccinated.

Puthucheary said the country was trying to live with COVID-19 as endemic without excess mortality. “While we will have deaths from COVID-19, we will not see more overall deaths than in a normal non-COVID year.”

The city-state extended curbs to contain the spread of COVID-19 through the end of this month, sparking some criticism from the public.

But the Prime Minister’s wife, Ho Ching, said people should stop complaining.

“We’re just spoiled children if we keep harping on our disappointment with food and liberties…let’s do our best to help, instead of wasting our energy on tantrums and whining,” Ho said.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty and Sanjeev Miglani

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