Omicron Triggers A Surge In Covid-19 Cases

On Christmas Day of 2021, a total of 98 Omicron cases were reported in Singapore, comprising 25 local cases and 73 imported cases. The largest daily number of Omicron cases reported so far, this brings Singapore’s total Omicron cases to an alarming 448. Overall, the weekly infections have reduced, with its growth rate standing at 0.56. with guidance from your economics tutor Singapore in your economics tuition Singapore class, explain the significance of tracking the weekly growth rate. The weekly growth rate has been kept below 1 since 13 November 2021, when Singapore reached the peak of the pandemic caused by Delta.

More Infectious But Less Lethal

According to scientists, the new variant Omicron, as compared with Delta, is 70 times more infectious as it multiplies much faster in human lungs. This attribute has allowed the variant to spread quickly across the globe. First detected in South Africa on 24 November 2021, the variant was soon spread to 22 other countries, including China, the United Kingdom and Germany, among others, by the end of 30 November 2021. It further made its way to more countries such as the United States, Malaysia and Singapore. In consultation with your economics tutor Singapore in economics tuition Singapore, compare the disruptions caused by Delta and Omicron. Due to its extremely high transmissibility, countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States reported record number of daily infections, amidst the festive seasons.

Despite its high transmissibility, Omicron is confirmed by scientists to be less lethal. Majority of the cases infected with this new variant have shown mild or no symptoms. This raised hope in many that Omicron could mark the end of the pandemic and the start of an endemic. You may consult your economics tutor Singapore in your economics tuition Singapore class about the definitions of a pandemic and an endemic.

Different Responses By Different Countries

Singapore has been tackling the highly infectious new variant with strict contact tracing. New Omicron cases and their close contacts have immediately been placed on quarantine to contain its spread. In addition, the country has also ordered for an urgent halt of its VTL (Vaccinated Travel Lane) following surging imported Omicron cases. Airlines are no longer allowed to sell VTL flight tickets to Singapore from 23 December 2021 to 20 January 2022. The land VTL between Singapore and Malaysia has also been suspended. However, eligible travelers who had already bought their tickets are still allowed to travel to Singapore via the quarantine free scheme. In discussion with your economics tutor Singapore in economics tuition Singapore, list other measures apart from of suspension of VTL to limit our exposure to Omicron. After 20 January 2022, VTL quotas and ticket sales will be slashed by half to limit our exposure to imported Omicron cases.

Stricter measures have been imposed across Europe in the face of the new variant. For example, the Netherland ordered a lockdown over Christmas period, with non-essential shops closed till mid-January. In contrast, the United States is set to loosen its border controls, lifting travel restrictions on eight African countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namiba and Zimbabwe from 31 December 2021. You may approach your economics tutor Singapore in your economics tuition Singapore class for an explanation of the possible reasons behind the vastly different responses to Omicron by different countries. Mr Edmund Quek is the best economics tutor Singapore who is renowned for incorporating real world events into his economics tuition Singapore. You may visit his website at to find out more about this economics tutor Singapore.

In closing, it is still too early to gauge the impact of Omicron. However, the fact that it is less lethal compared with other variants has raised hope for the start of an endemic, where we can resume normalcy in life and co-exist with the virus.

Linda Geng

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