Singapore gets first batch of vaccines, says DHL

Singapore gets first batch of vaccines, says DHL

A sign reminds people to wear their protective masks due to the ongoing coronavirus disease outbreak, during the Poinsettia Wishes floral display, as part of the Christmas celebrations at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore on Sunday. (Reuters photo)
A sign reminds people to wear their protective masks due to the ongoing coronavirus disease outbreak, during the Poinsettia Wishes floral display, as part of the Christmas celebrations at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore on Sunday. (Reuters photo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore received its first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Monday, according to logistics firm DHL, ahead of a rollout in the city-state that health officials have said could be as soon as two or three weeks away.

DHL, which is involved in the transportation of the first of the shots to Singapore from Belgium, did not specify the size of the batch or name the vaccines being delivered.

Singapore last week said it had approved Pfizer-BioNTech's coronavirus vaccine, becoming the first Asian country to do so.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, 68, said he would be among the early recipients of the vaccine in the nation of 5.7 million people, which has one of the lowest coronavirus fatality rates globally.

The government said it will first administer the vaccine to healthcare workers and the elderly.

Health ministry official Kenneth Mak had last week said the first jabs could be given "within the next two to three weeks" if safely delivered.

Singapore has kept new local infections to almost zero each day in recent months and will further ease restrictions next week.

It has signed advanced purchase agreements and made early down-payments on several vaccine candidates including those being developed by Moderna and Sinovac, setting aside more than S$1 billion ($746.16 million) for the shots.

Most of the city-state's more than 58,000 coronavirus cases occurred in cramped migrant worker dormitories, but there are some concerns about asymptomatic carriers and undetected transmission taking place.

The government on Saturday said it was investigating whether 13 travellers who tested positive at a five-star hotel in November may have been infected there during their mandatory quarantine, rather than prior to their arrival in the country.

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