Companies need to continue to have in place robust business continuity plans (BCPs) to mitigate disruptions to business operations, said the Multi-Ministerial Taskforce (MTF) on 21 January 2022.
BCPs include measures such as split team arrangements, frequent COVID-19 testing and adhering to strict safe management measures.
Singapore has seen a sharp rise in locally transmitted Omicron cases, which as of 20 January 2022, has risen to 1,472 daily cases – from around 800 daily cases just the week before.
MTF Co-Chair Gan Kim Yong said that as Singapore continues to ride the Omicron wave, it needs to be prepared for the possibility that a significant portion of the population will be infected with the more transmissible variant of COVID-19.
He said: “If we have, for example, 15,000 cases a day with each one of them [workers] being out of action for an average of five days, we are looking at some 75,000 workers being absent from work due to COVID-19.
“If you include those who are close contacts with the infected, the number will be much higher.”
The Local Situation
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will report the daily number of Antigen Rapid Test (ART) positive cases identified at local healthcare facilities. The numbers currently only report the number of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) positive cases.
The MTF said that this will give a more accurate account of the local COVID-19 situation, given the more widespread use of ART kits at medical clinics.
MOH says that as of today, 75–76 per cent of locally reported COVID-19 cases are those infected with the Omicron variant.
Protecting Our Healthcare Capacity
In-person visits to hospital wards and residential care homes will be suspended for the next four weeks.
MOH said that the measure is necessary for our healthcare capacity and vulnerable groups such as seniors.
MOH Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak said that local hospitals have staff augmentation plans in place and will activate them if needed.
“We are mindful that in countries like Australia, UK and the US. They have had high health care staff absenteeism rates due to the staff getting infected with COVID-19,” he said.
Associate Professor Mak added that MOH will work closely with hospitals to ensure that healthcare services will not face significant disruptions.