Singapore reports 513 new COVID-19 cases, including 2 community infections; new cluster identified

Singapore reports 513 new COVID-19 cases, including 2 community infections; new cluster identified

COVID-19 Masked People East Coast Park 3
People wearing face masks at East Coast Park on Jul 19, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 513 new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Saturday (Jul 25), with two cases in the community, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 49,888.

A new cluster of cases was also identified, said the ministry. Three of the newly confirmed cases are linked to one previous case to form a new cluster at a dormitory at 12 Defu Lane 7.

Both of the community cases reported on Saturday are work pass holders.

One was picked up as a result of surveillance and screening, and one had already been placed on quarantine earlier, MOH said. Both cases were asymptomatic, the ministry added. 

One of the community cases was linked to a previous case. The 38-year-old male Bangladesh national, known as Case No 49715, had been identified as a contact of a previously confirmed patient (Case No 48284), and had been placed on quarantine earlier. He was tested during quarantine to determine his status.

The other community case, a 33-year-old male Bangladeshi, is currently unlinked and was detected from MOH's screening of workers in essential services. 

FIVE IMPORTED CASES TRAVELLED FROM INDIA

There are also six imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore.

Of the six imported cases, two are permanent residents who returned to Singapore - one is a 17-year-old male permanent resident returning from India on Jul 12 and the other a 22-year-old female permanent resident returning from the UK on Jul 10.

The remaining four imported cases, which includes a 3-year-old boy, are dependant's pass holders who arrived from India between Jul 11 and Jul 13, said MOH. 

All had been placed on 14-day stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore and had been tested while serving their notice. 

The remaining 505 cases are cases residing in dormitories.

"We continue to pick up cases among work permit holders residing in dormitories, including in factory-converted dormitories, because of extensive testing in these premises, as part of our process to verify and test the status of all workers," MOH said.

DAILY NUMBER OF CASES TO REMAIN HIGH FOR NEXT 2 WEEKS: MOH

The daily number of cases is expected to remain high for the next two weeks, said the ministry.

It said the inter-agency task force is on track to clear all the dormitories by the beginning of August, with the exception of 17 standalone blocks in 8 purpose-built dormitories, which serve as quarantine facilities for 28,000 workers still serving out their isolation period. 

"This last batch of workers come from dormitories with a relatively high prevalence of COVID-19, and will be subject to a final test before they complete their isolation periods. 

"We therefore expect the daily case counts to be high for the coming two weeks, before tapering down thereafter," MOH said.

More details about the new cases will be released on Saturday night, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, 180 more cases of COVID-19 have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 45,352 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.

Currently, there are 148 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable and improving, and none are in the intensive care unity.

MOH said 4,361 cases are isolated and cared for at community facilities, and these are cases who have mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive for the virus.

Twenty-seven people in Singapore have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection.



ADDITIONAL MEASURES AT HOTSPOTS

Singapore will implement additional measures to ensure safe distancing at hotspots and step up enforcement measures, after crowding was observed at some popular areas over recent weekends, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Friday.

READ: COVID-19: Additional control measures to be implemented after crowding observed at some hotspots

Singapore entered Phase 2 of its reopening from the "circuit breaker" on Jun 19. Speaking press conference on Friday, Mr Wong said there more people have been gathering, particularly in beaches and parks, over the past few weekends.

Agencies will monitor the people who are entering the beaches or parks and proactively stop people from going in when the areas are close to capacity limits, said Mr Wong. Car parks serving these popular areas may also be closed.

"We cannot and should not rely on enforcement to remind ourselves to be socially responsible," added Mr Wong. "And this new COVID normal that we need to move to, the role of (the) individual is crucial. Fighting the virus requires significant shifts in behaviour and mindset."

READ: COVID-19: MOH conducting 'swab operations' as part of stepped up efforts 

MOH on Friday said it has been stepping up its surveillance, active case-finding and containment efforts to detect and “ringfence” COVID-19 cases as early as possible.

These include placing close contacts of confirmed cases under quarantine and testing them at the start and end of their quarantine period, MOH said.

Seven “swab operations” to test for COVID-19 have been conducted over the past months in connection to newly emergent workplace clusters such as Keppel Shipyard and Northpoint City, MOH said.

Swab operations were also done at retail premises frequented by multiple cases, the ministry added.

The COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce said on Friday that it expects the vast majority of foreign worker dormitories to be cleared of COVID-19 by early August.

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Source: CNA/dv

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