The world’s first XBB wave begins in Singapore

Asia, Bangladesh, Coronavirus, Evolution, Genome, Infection, Omicron, Recombinants, Research, Singapore, Testing, Transmission, XBB

The world’s first wave of the recombinant SARS-CoV-2 variant XBB has apparently begun in Singapore.

Twitter is alight with posts claiming that the recombinant SARS-CoV-2 variant XBB is creating a new wave of infections in Singapore, so we’ve taken a look at the latest information from the Singapore Ministry of Health and other reliable sources and republished it.

The new Covid wave in Singapore can be seen in the daily update slides from the Ministry of Health, shown below.

The number of new Covid cases in Singapore has risen dramatically over the past week:


The week-on-week infection ratio in Singapore clearly shows the new wave:


The seven-day moving average of local cases:


Covid hospitalisations in Singapore have been steadily increasing:


The 7 day moving average of active cases in ICU and deaths by vaccination status shows a distinct change in profile. Click to enlarge the image.


Singapore ICU’s are already seeing the impact of the new wave:


Raj Rajnarayanan comments that Singapore is already an XBB hotspot, with supporting charts:


Tom Wenseelers confirms that the Singapore wave is being driven by XBB.


Josette Schoenmakers has commented that “As we see BQ.1(.1) rising and becoming substantial in Europe eg. and XBB to an even greater extent in Singapore and Bangladesh“.


The fact that XBB only popped up on our radar five days ago and is already creating waves is a cause for concern. We still don’t know whether this variant is fit enough to outcompete BQ.1.1, but it seems it won’t take long to find out.

We covered the latest scientific research information on XBB recently here and here. One scientist said of the variant “XBB is currently the most antibody-evasive strain tested“. 

We’ve updated Daniele Focosi’s convergent evolution diagram below so that you can keep track of where new these variants are coming from. Click on the image to enlarge.


The current XBB wave is already Singapore’s third-largest wave of the pandemic. 


** We’ve been surprised that recombinant variants haven’t made more of an impact on the pandemic so far. That could be about to change…**


UPDATE 1 – 11th October 2022 – Covid cases are almost doubling every week in Singapore

Singapore’s latest Covid figures show that cases are almost doubling every week. Today’s figure is 11,399.

Singapore Ministry of Health



Update 2 – 11th October 2022 – No increase in severe cases or deaths – Singapore MOH

Rumours that Singapore is seeing a significant increase in severe COVID-19 cases and deaths due to the XBB strain are untrue, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has said.

“More importantly, there is also no evidence of XBB causing more severe illness. So far, the large majority of patients continue to report mild symptoms such as sore throat or slight fever, especially if they have been vaccinated.”

Channel News Asia report



Update 3 – 12th October 2022 – XBB is at 48% of sequences in Singapore, 52% in Bangladesh.


Mike Honey on Twitter


Follow Coronaheadsup on Twitter for our latest updates


XBB set to become the dominant variant in Singapore




** This post was originally published on October 8, 2022 **