Having passed the 80 per cent double-vaccination mark last month, the example of Singapore suggests that achieving a milestone coveted by Australia is not a guarantee of returning to anything like pre-pandemic life.
The island state reluctantly delayed reopening measures and re-imposed some restrictions last week after seeing its highest daily COVID-19 infections in more than a year.
On Sunday, the nation of 5.7 million people reported 555 new local COVID-19 cases, the most since August 2020.
A day earlier, it recorded its 58th death, a partially vaccinated 80-year-old man with a history of diabetes, hypertension and heart problems.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health last week banned social gatherings at workplaces after recent clusters in staff canteens and pantries, believed to have been caused by employees removing their masks in common areas.
With Singaporeans told to limit social gatherings to one per day, Gan Kim Yong — co-chair of the multi-ministry task force — said the “worrying” spike in infections would “probably get to 2,000 new cases a day”, describing the next two to four weeks as “crucial”.
Alex Cook, an infectious diseases modelling expert at the National University of Singapore, said life had not improved “by as much as we might have hoped”, despite Singapore being one of the world’s most vaccinated countries.