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Malay Mail

SINGAPORE, Sept 19 — Singapore reported 2,490 “excess deaths” during the Covid-19 pandemic, with three-fifths directly attributed to the disease while the rest were due to illnesses that were aggravated by the coronavirus.

These figures were released by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday (Sept 18) in a public report on mortality over the course of the pandemic — from January 2020 to June this year.

Excess deaths refer to the increased death rate experienced during the pandemic, above that expected in the absence of one.

MOH said in a press release that with the Covid-19 situation stabilising, it has consolidated the data to review the full impact the pandemic had on Singapore.

Singapore has one of the lowest Covid-19 death rates in the world and it has kept fatalities low due to the country’s collective effort, and high Covid-19 vaccination and booster coverage, the ministry said.

“Nevertheless, the mortality trends up to June 2022 show that there were increased deaths during the Covid-19 pandemic,” said MOH.

For instance, over the course of the pandemic, the age-standardised death rate in Singapore residents rose from 525.0 in 2019 to 549.9 per 100,000 person-years. The age-standardised death rate is defined as the number of deaths in a given age group.

MOH said that although this figure is close to the level seen in 2018, it also translates to an estimated 2,490 excess deaths over the two-and-a-half-year period, using the pre-Covid year of 2019 as a baseline.

Close to three-fifths of the excess deaths could be directly attributed to Covid-19.

Singapore’s official Covid-19 death toll was 1,403 residents as at the end of June this year, said the ministry.

“The remainder of the excess deaths can be explained by patients who passed away from other illnesses within 90 days after being infected with Covid-19,” said MOH. “In other words, Covid-19 aggravated existing illnesses, resulting in death.”

The ministry added that among Covid-19 deaths, there was an over-representation of people who had not been fully vaccinated. They made up 28 per cent of Covid-19 deaths occurring in the first half of this year, even though only about 5 per cent of the eligible population had not been fully vaccinated as of mid-March.

MOH said that although Singapore’s public hospitals were strained while coping with the pandemic, its hospital and Intensive Care Unit beds were nonetheless able to support patients with urgent medical needs.

Key indicators such as the rates of death within 30 days of presenting with a heart attack or stroke at public hospitals in the years 2020 to 2021 were comparable to rates seen in the previous years, said the ministry.

It also reiterated the need for the public to exercise personal protection and social responsibility by ensuring that their vaccination status is up to date.

The full report can be viewed on MOH’s website. — TODAY

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