SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 301 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Thursday (Aug 6), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
Four cases were in the community, comprising two Singaporeans, one permanent resident and a work permit holder from India.
Another four cases were imported, including a Singaporean woman who returned to Singapore from Kazakhstan. Two imported cases are work pass holders who arrived from India, while the remaining imported case is a dependant’s pass holder who also arrived from India.
The remaining cases were linked to foreign worker dormitories, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 54,555 infections. Twenty-seven have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection.
READ: Singaporeans, PRs who travel from permitted countries can tap government subsidies for COVID-19 hospital treatment
3 UNLINKED COMMUNITY CASES
Of the four community cases, three were unlinked and one was linked to a previous case.
One of the three unlinked cases is a 41-year-old Singapore permanent resident who was swabbed as part of MOH's "active case finding efforts". He was asymptomatic but his serological test came back positive, indicating a likely past infection, said MOH.
The two other unlinked cases are a 22 year-old Singaporean man and a 29-year-old Singaporean man who were tested after they sought medical treatment for acute respiratory infection (ARI).
Epidemiological investigations of the unlinked cases are in progress, said MOH.
Their identified close contacts have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period.
The linked community case, a 29-year-old man from India was asymptomatic. The man, a work permit holder, is linked to a previous case and detected from MOH's proactive screening of workers in essential services who are living outside the dormitories.
IMPORTED CASES RETURNED FROM INDIA AND KAZAKHSTAN
Of the four imported cases, one is a Singaporean - a 49-year-old woman who returned from Kazakhstan on Jul 25.
The remaining three cases arrived from India on Jul 25 - two were work pass holders currently employed in Singapore and one was a dependant's pass holder.
All four cases had been placed on 14-day stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore and were serving their notice at dedicated facilities. They were all asymptomatic and had been tested while serving their stay-home notice.
FORIEGN WORKER DORMITORIES
MOH said that another 14 foreign worker dormitories with COVID-19 clusters have been cleared, and now house only recovered individuals and those who have recently tested negative for COVID-19 infection.
They include Lingjack Dormitory in 1 Woodlands Terrace, Beyond Tuas South Boulevard, 5 Kaki Bukit Industrial Terrace, 52 Kaki Bukit Industrial Terrace, 13 Kaki Bukit Road 4, 10 Kranji Link, 119 Neythal Road and 46 Tech Park Crescent.
They also include 17 Tuas View Close, 119 Tuas View Walk 1, 107 West Coast Vale, 5 Woodlands Industrial Park E1, 182 Woodlands Industrial Park E5 and 208 Woodlands Industrial Park E5.
"We continue to aggressively test the final batch of dormitory residents, and remain on track to clear all the dormitories by Aug 7, except for a few standalone blocks in the dormitories that serve as quarantine facilities," the ministry added.
"Depending on the prevalence of COVID-19 at the remaining dormitories whose residents are being tested, the daily case counts may vary.
"We expect the number to remain volatile in the coming days, before tapering down thereafter as the inter-agency task force completes the dormitory clearance."
As of Thursday night, 263 more COVID-19 cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.
In all, 48,031 have fully recovered and have been discharged.
Currently, 112 confirmed COVID-19 cases are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, with none in the intensive care unit.
Furthermore, 6,385 are isolated and cared for at community facilities, and these are those who have mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
Another nine locations were added to a list of places visited by community cases while they were infectious. They include Decathlon at FairPrice Hub, Bukit Batok ActiveSG Gym, Sheng Siong Supermarket at Teban Gardens and West Mall.
During a press conference on Thursday, co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Mr Lawrence Wong said most foreign workers should be able to return to work by the end of this month.
With workers who have either been cleared or recovered from COVID-19 back on the job, construction activity will be able to resume by the end of the month as well, said Mr Wong, urging contractors to put in place the required safe management measures right now.
HEALTHCARE FINANCING FOR SOME TRAVELLERS
From Friday, all Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders who travel abroad under permitted travel arrangements with certain countries will be able to tap on regular healthcare financing arrangements for their medical bills should they have symptoms of COVID-19 within 14 days of their return to Singapore, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said.
Currently, those who travel overseas against the travel advisories are required to pay for their own COVID-19 treatment in full should they have symptoms of the disease within 14 days of their return.
But as Singapore gradually allows essential travel through various arrangements with certain countries, authorities have reviewed the charging policy for these travellers.
He added that even as more COVID-19 safety restrictions are eased and the number of community cases remains low, most events should continue to remain virtual for now.
READ: Most events should remain virtual for now, even as more COVID-19 restrictions are eased: Gan Kim Yong
WEDNESDAY'S THREE-MONTH HIGH
On Wednesday, Singapore recorded its highest daily number of COVID-19 cases since May 1, with 908 new infections.
MOH attributed the high number of cases to the ongoing clearance of foreign worker dormitories, where residents were tested during their isolation/quarantine period, despite being asymptomatic.
More than 300,000 migrant workers living in dormitories were placed in isolation earlier this year as part of the Government’s strategy to curb the spread of COVID-19.
But uncertainties over their health, jobs and prolonged confinement have affected the mental state of many migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant worker advocacy groups said.
In response to CNA's queries, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Wednesday it has not observed a spike in the number of migrant worker suicides compared to previous years, although it is aware of recent incidents involving workers living in dormitories.