WhatsApp message claiming XBB Covid-19 variant more toxic than Delta untrue: MOH

The Ministry of Health also refuted allegations that subvariant XBB is more difficult to detect than Delta.
PHOTO: Straits Times

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has countered false claims that the Omicron subvariant XBB of the Sars-CoV-2 virus is five times more “toxic” than the Delta variant.

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, MOH also refuted allegations that XBB is difficult to detect and has a higher mortality rate than Delta.

MOH added that these claims have been circulating in a message on WhatsApp, and said they are untrue.

It said: “International and local data have shown that XBB is milder than Delta and does not have a higher mortality rate. Current Covid-19 tests are able to detect Covid-19 infections, including XBB strains.”

MOH added that there are now a mix of Covid-19 strains circulating in the community – XBB, XBB.1.5, XBB.1.9, XBB.1.16, XBB.2.3, BN.1, CH.1.1 – with no clear dominant strain.

“While we are currently in the midst of a Covid-19 infection wave, intensive care unit (ICU) admissions remain stable and low, with less than 10 Covid-19 patients in ICU at any one time over the past month,” it said.

It urged the public to refer to its website for the latest information on Covid-19.

MOH said it estimates that there were 16,018 Covid-19 cases from April 2 to April 8. This surged in the following week to 26,072, according to data on the MOH website.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on April 14 that three in 10 of the current cases are reinfections – higher than the 20 to 25 per cent of cases seen during the last wave.

The number of Covid-19 cases in Singapore each week is estimated based on the National Acute Respiratory Infection Surveillance Programme.

The programme is carried out at polyclinics to monitor the infection trends of Covid-19 and other respiratory viruses in the community.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.