Singapore has extended its Covid-19 restrictions until Nov 21, as the country's healthcare system is at risk of being overwhelmed.
The extended measures - which include capping group sizes for social gatherings and dining in at two - will be reviewed at the two-week mark and adjusted based on the community situation then.
The Health Ministry (MOH) will add more intensive care unit beds if necessary, said Health Minister Ong Ye Kung at a press conference on Wednesday.
"The next leap will be to 300 beds, but that will be at the expense of further degradation of normal service and normal medical care."
Nearly 90 per cent of the country's 1,650 isolation beds for Covid-19 patients have been filled, while two-thirds of all intensive care unit (ICU) beds are occupied by Covid-19 cases and non-Covid patients.
"The hospitals are no doubt bracing themselves for a sustained heavy patient load. MOH is doing whatever we can to support and bolster the hospitals," said Mr Ong.
"The workload on healthcare workers and hospitals is therefore very significant," he added.
As at Tuesday night, there were 1,738 Covid-19 patients in hospital - although not all were in isolation rooms - and 71 in intensive care.
He noted that there is no sign that cases are beginning to fall, and that this will take time.
Eighteen Singaporeans, aged 55 to 96, have died of complications linked to Covid-19, taking Singapore's death toll to 264, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday.
This is the highest number of deaths recorded in a single day. The previous highest number was 15 deaths recorded on Oct 14.
There were 3,862 new Covid-19 infections in total, MOH said, with 3,221 new cases in the community, 630 in migrant worker dormitories and 11 imported cases.
The local cases included 568 people above 60 years old. The total number of cases in Singapore now stands at 158,587.
The Straits Times