SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 42 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections as of noon on Thursday (Jul 15), of which 34 belong to a KTV cluster.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) had earlier indicated that 33 new cases were traced to KTV lounges. This number was subsequently revised in the Health Ministry's evening update.
There are now a total of 88 cases linked to the KTV cluster.
Of the 42 new locally transmitted infections, 17 were linked to previous cases and were already quarantined while 21 were linked to previous cases and detected through surveillance testing.
Four cases are currently unlinked, said MOH in its daily update.
There were also six imported cases, who were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival. Four were detected upon arrival in Singapore while two developed the illness during stay-home notice or isolation.
In total, Singapore reported 48 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
ONGOING TRANSMISSION AT 2 MORE KTVS
MOH said it is investigating cases of COVID-19 infection among social hostesses who had frequented KTV lounges or clubs currently operating as F&B outlets, and their close social contacts.
Epidemiological investigations have found that there is likely ongoing transmission at Las Vegas KTV and Tuberose KTV, both located at 35 Selegie Road, said the Health Ministry.
Parklane Shopping Mall is located at 35 Selegie Road.
To break any potential chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning, MOH said these premises will be closed to all members of the public from Jul 16 to Jul 30.
Free COVID-19 testing will also be extended to members of the public who visited the affected KTVs between Jun 29 and Jul 15, or similar KTV lounges or clubs operating as F&B outlets.
Those who have interacted with social hostesses of any nationality in any setting between Jun 29 and Jul 15 also qualify for free COVID-19 testing.
TESTING OPERATIONS FOR COMFORTDELGRO DRIVING CENTRE STAFF
The Health Ministry also said that it is investigating cases of COVID-19 infection among individuals who work in or visited ComfortDelGro Driving Centre at 205 Ubi Avenue 4.
There are so far six cases linked to the cluster, said MOH.
ComfortDelGro Driving Centre will be closed to all members of the public from Jul 15 to Jul 29 to break the chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises.
To quickly uncover any community infection cases, MOH said it will be conducting special testing operations for all staff members of ComfortDelGro Driving Centre.
Free COVID-19 testing will also be extended to members of the public who had visited the driving centre between Jul 6 and Jul 15.
MOH has advised all visitors to ComfortDelGro Driving Centre, as well as Las Vegas KTV and Tuberose KTV and similar settings, and those who had interacted with social hostesses of any nationality, to monitor their health closely.
They should also minimise social interactions as far as possible, for 14 days from their date of visit or interaction. They are encouraged to see a doctor immediately if they feel unwell, MOH added.
There are currently 25 active clusters in Singapore, ranging between three and 94 infections. The 115 Bukit Merah View Market & Food Centre cluster remains the largest, followed by the KTV lounges and clubs cluster.
INCREASE IN NEW COMMUNITY CASES
The overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 23 cases in the week before to 127 cases in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from nine cases in the week before to 16 cases in the past week, said MOH.
A total of 180 cases are currently warded in hospital, with most well and under observation.
There are currently seven cases of serious illness requiring oxygen supplementation, and one in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, multi-ministry task force co-chair Lawrence Wong said that he knew that many were feeling "disappointed and frustrated" about the recent COVID-19 cases at KTVs, and that he felt the same.
"Cases like these demonstrate how, in times of crisis, personal responsibility matters. No man is an island. The choices we make for ourselves are the choices we make for our community," said Mr Wong.
"We are working round the clock to deal with the latest cases, to contain them, and keep our community safe."
Mr Wong said that the task force has also been deliberating on what additional measures to take and will give an update soon.
He strongly urged anyone who has been to these "pivoted KTV lounges" to do the right thing - to test and isolate themselves.
"We continue to take heart that the vast majority of Singaporeans have been responsible, and adhering to safe management measures. Let's continue to do our part, and overcome this together," said Mr Wong.
People can continue to dine in groups of five despite the "potentially ... huge" COVID-19 cluster involving KTV lounges, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Wednesday.
The cluster was first reported on Monday, the same day that Singapore eased COVID-19 restrictions. People were allowed to dine in groups of five on Monday, up from two previously.
The police said on Wednesday that three KTV operators were being investigated for allegedly providing "hostessing services" within their premises.
Twenty women were also arrested for their suspected involvement in vice activities within the three KTV lounges, which had pivoted to operate as F&B outlets.
As of Thursday, Singapore has reported a total of 62,852 COVID-19 cases.