Minister of Health Ong Ye Kung said on 3 April that Singapore is always on the lookout for variants of concern, but added that there have been no significant ones detected recently.
Speaking at a farmers’ market at Woodlands Sports Pavilion, Ong acknowledged that the variants such as XE, XD and XF have been detected in other countries, but said that there is not much cause for concern regarding such variants.
Using a pair of earrings as an analogy, Ong said:
“There are plenty of variants, but many of them are like us humans. Today you wear this earring, tomorrow you change your earring. That’s all it is. You’re still the same person.”
He added that what we need to watch out for are variants of concern that have been flagged by the World Health Organization because they have different characteristics.
He explained: “These are either more severe, more transmissible or the vaccines don’t work as well… As of now, we’re watching out for those and monitoring the general development.”
He added that “the risk of a variant is always there so it’s one of the things we have to monitor internationally to make sure there are no variants of concern that will pull us back to square one, which is always possible.”