S’pore reports 31 new cases including nine imported

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Singapore reported 31 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, including nine imported infections, the Singaporean Ministry of Health said in its daily preliminary report. This takes the national tally to 57,607.

No new community cases were reported. All imported cases had been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore, said the city state.

A pharmaceutical association in Singapore said in an interview with CNA that it is committed to a “science first” approach in the development of COVID-19 vaccines.

Vaccine development is traditionally a complex task that can take as long as 20 years, said Vice President of the Singapore Association of Pharmaceutical Industries Ashish Pal.

“You have pre-discovery phase that can last two to four years. Pre-clinical and clinical trials can take anything between five and 15 years and that does not include regulatory approvals and manufacturing,” he said.

“Companies that are developing vaccine candidates are now working on multiple elements of the development process… so (it) is in many ways much more risky, given the fact that a lot is happening much faster, but also in tandem.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) said earlier this month that it does not expect widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year.