Further waves of the deadly COVID-19 are possible as long as a vaccine remains out of reach, Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong warned on Tuesday, as the city-state recorded 31 new coronavirus cases, its lowest single-day figure since March.
He, however, assured that the Ministry of Health (MOH) will make sure Singapore has the resources to care for all COVID-19 patients and support all healthcare institutions involved in the fight.
Singapore will also work with its international partners to share information on cases and remains "actively involved" in developing vaccines and treatments for the virus, Gan said.
Digitalisation projects to do with telehealth and remote working for staff will be accelerated, with MOH also working on plans to improve career development and welfare in the sector.
It will also press on with long-term plans to expand healthcare capacity, keep medical costs affordable, and help Singaporeans stay healthy, reported The Straits Times, citing Minister Gan’s elaborating Ministry of Health's addendum to the President's Address.
"While COVID-19 has pushed back the completion timelines for some of the upcoming new facilities, we will continue to expand our healthcare capacity, such as by building a new hospital in the east and new polyclinics across Singapore by 2030," Gan said.
Work ongoing on schemes to keep healthcare costs affordable
For instance, benefits and premiums under the national health insurance scheme, MediShield Life, are under review to ensure that Singaporeans are adequately protected against large medical bills.
Healthcare subsidy frameworks are also being reviewed, the Minister said.
As the pandemic rages on, Singapore will work to ensure it has the resources to treat coronavirus patients and deal with sudden surges in case numbers, Gan assured.
The health ministry will continue to maintain "adequate quarantine and community isolation capacity" in case of a surge.
It will also tap data and technology to improve the country's ability to respond quickly to evolving situations and contain outbreaks, he added.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has presented an unprecedented challenge for our healthcare system," said Gan.
"We are committed to continuing our fight against COVID-19, while also continuing to transform and strengthen our health systems in a sustainable way for the long term.
To date, Singapore has reported 56,435 cases since the disease monitoring began here in January 2020.
A vast majority of the cases are foreign workers from India, Bangladesh and China.
As of Monday, 54,587 coronavirus patients have fully recovered from the infection while 27 people have died related to the disease.
Singapore has also recorded 860 imported cases since its borders were re-opened in March.
These are mostly Singapore citizens, permanent residents and foreigners holding passes to work here who are put on 14-day stay home notice.