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Asia Minute: Singapore Shifts Coronavirus Tracking Focus

AP Photo/Yong Teck Lim, File

The daily count of COVID-19 cases has become a regular part of news around the world, but health officials in Singapore are shifting the focus when it comes to tracking COVID-19.

The Ministry of Health will no longer share details of each case of community spread such as a person’s age and when they tested positive.

The daily medical reports will continue but attention will now center on specifics about clusters of outbreaks, and the number of people who have severe cases of the virus—such as how many require oxygen and hospitalization rates.

Three members of the government’s COVID-19 task force shared their thinking in an op-ed in the Straits Times.

“The bad news is that COVID-19 may never go away. The good news is that it is possible to live normally with it in our midst," they said.

The officials compared it to the flu, adding “the virus will continue to mutate.”

They say rather than try to eradicate the virus, the goal should be to protect against its worst impacts.

Singapore’s approach is different from places such as Hong Kong and Australia—which have emphasized quarantines and lockdowns.

In Singapore, there’s a renewed emphasis on vaccinations with a goal of vaccinating two-thirds of the population by August 9---Singapore’s National Day.

Right now, nearly 40% of residents are fully vaccinated and nearly 60% have had at least one shot.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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