9 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore; active cases fall below 100 for the first time in 7 months

9 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore; active cases fall below 100 for the first time in 7 months

Changi Airport passengers (2)
A passenger wearing a face mask, amid concerns over the spread of the COVID-19, walks past a temperature screening area at Singapore Changi Airport on Mar 16, 2020. (File photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Nine new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore on Friday (Oct 16), including eight imported infections. 

For the first time since Mar 12, the number of active cases in Singapore has fallen below 100, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

One case was discovered in a foreign worker dormitory. No new cases in the community were reported.

The new infections take Singapore's total number of COVID-19 cases to 57,901.

TWO SINGAPOREANS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

Two Singaporeans - a 62-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman - who returned from the Philippines were among the imported cases reported on Friday.

Another four are work permit holders currently employed in Singapore. They had arrived from Indonesia, the Philippines and Myanmar.

They were all placed on stay-home notices upon arrival in Singapore and were tested during this period, said MOH.



The remaining two cases are short-term visit pass holders.

One is 36-year-old man who was allowed entry to Singapore from India as he was already receiving medical care in Singapore and had returned for further treatment.

"He was conveyed directly to a hospital and isolated upon arrival in Singapore and was tested subsequently," said the ministry.

The other case is a crew member of a ship which arrived from Indonesia.

The man had not disembarked from the ship and was swabbed on board after developing symptoms. He remained on the ship until his test result came back positive for COVID-19, and was then taken to a hospital, said the ministry.

Epidemiological investigations are in progress, MOH added.

"In the meantime, all the identified close contacts of the cases have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so that we can detect asymptomatic cases.

"We will also conduct serological tests for the close contacts to determine if the cases could have been infected by them," said the ministry.

MOH said it has been monitoring existing clusters for any further transmission.

SOLE DORMITORY CASE

The sole case in the dormitory was detected through the Ministry of Health's (MOH) bi-weekly Rostered Routine Testing of workers living in dormitories.

The man's serological test result came back positive, which indicated likely past infection, said the health ministry.

"(The rostered routine testing) allows us to pick up cases early, including asymptomatic ones, so that we are able to ring-fence them quickly to prevent further transmission, by aggressively containing, tracing and isolating the close contacts," said MOH.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has remained stable at an average of fewer than one case per day in the past two weeks.

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from an average of fewer than one case per day in the week before, to none in the past week.

"We will continue to closely monitor these numbers, as well as the cases detected through our surveillance programme," said MOH.

As there have been no more cases linked to the cluster at The Jovell construction site at 27 Flora Drive for the past two incubation periods, or 28 days, the cluster has been closed, the ministry said.

RECOVERIES

Twenty more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total recoveries to 57,784, said MOH.

Thirty cases are still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, with no one in the intensive care unit.

A total of 59 cases are being isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are cases who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.

"This is the first time since Mar 12 that the number of active cases (comprising cases who are hospitalised or at community facilities) has fallen below 100", said MOH.

Twenty-eight have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection.

SAVING BUSINESSES AND JOBS

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Thursday said in Parliament that with the scale of the COVID-19 crisis, the Government may not be able to save every business and job, but it will continue to support every worker. 

As some jobs “may never return”, Mr Heng urged mid-career professionals to consider changing industry and taking pay cuts to put themselves “in a better footing” after the crisis.

He also called on companies to be “receptive” to hiring mid-career workers, who come with their “wealth of experience”.

The COVID-19 pandemic has dragged Singapore’s economy into its most severe downturn since independence, as the Ministry of Manpower recorded 11,350 retrenchments in the first half of the year. 

According to the ministry, this is higher than the 10,120 recorded during the SARS period, but still lower than other recessionary peaks.

READ: Government may not be able to save every business and job amid COVID-19 crisis, but will support every worker: DPM Heng

On Thursday, the Transport Ministry also announced that Singapore and Hong Kong have reached an in-principle agreement to establish a bilateral air travel bubble.

READ: Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble will be suspended if COVID-19 cases spike: Ong Ye Kung

This means that those travelling under the bubble will have no restrictions on their travel purpose and will not need to have a controlled itinerary. Travellers will also not be subject to quarantine or stay-home notice requirements.​​​​​​​

However, travellers will need to test negative on mutually recognised COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests. They will also be required to go on flights dedicated for those travelling under the bubble. 

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