The return of Covid-19 is making headlines as winter takes hold across the globe. Winter has, in recent times, been linked to a surge in Covid-19 cases, and this trend is evident in Indonesia and its neighboring countries.
Singapore, a close neighbor to Indonesia, is currently experiencing its winter season, lasting from September to February. With temperatures ranging from the late 20s to early 30s degrees Celsius, coupled with daily rain and thunderstorms, the country has witnessed a significant uptick in Covid-19 cases.
In the week of November 19-25, Singapore reported a doubling of Covid-19 infections, reaching 22,094 cases compared to the previous week’s 10,726 cases. The government attributes this surge to factors like end-of-year travel and a decline in population immunity. The spread of the EG.5 variant and its HK.3 sub-lineages remains a predominant factor, covering over 70% of sequenced cases.
Assuring the public, Singapore’s Ministry of Health states that there is currently no evidence indicating increased transmissibility or severity associated with the main subvariant.
While winter traditionally sees a rise in respiratory illnesses globally, Singapore’s health authorities emphasize that the overall increase in respiratory diseases doesn’t translate to a surge in severe cases, especially in children.
Moving to Malaysia, the country reported 3,636 new Covid-19 cases from November 19 to 25, marking a substantial 57.3% increase within a week. This surge follows the previous week’s 2,305 recorded cases.
According to Malaysia’s Director-General of Health, Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, 98% of those infected are showing mild symptoms, providing some relief amid the rising numbers.
This surge in Covid-19 cases has not been limited to Singapore and Malaysia but has also affected the Philippines. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. confirmed his positive status and will undergo a five-day self-isolation period.
In India, the country recorded 83 new cases of the coronavirus, with 512 active cases, according to data updated on December 5, 2023, by the Ministry of Health.
Back in Indonesia, the Ministry of Health’s data reveals a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases since late October 2023. From October 1-26, there were 230 cases, and this number surged by 54% to 355 from November 1-26, 2023. This surge is attributed to the entry of the Eris or EG.5 and EG.2 variants.
Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin is urging Indonesians to adopt a double protection strategy by getting vaccinated and following health protocols, responding to the recent spike in Covid-19 infections in Singapore.
He specifically advises those who haven’t received their Covid-19 booster shots to promptly get vaccinated at the nearest healthcare facility.
As winter continues to affect several countries from September to February, the global total of Covid-19 cases during this period is closely monitored. The implications of the winter season on the ongoing battle against the pandemic remain a key concern for health authorities worldwide.