SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 53 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections as of noon on Friday (Jul 16), of which 32 belong to a KTV cluster.
There are now a total of 120 cases linked to the KTV cluster, making it the largest active cluster in the country.
Two more new clusters were also announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its evening update on Friday. In total, there are 27 active clusters in Singapore.
Of the 53 new locally transmitted infections, MOH said in its evening update that 24 were linked to previous cases and were already quarantined.
Five cases are currently unlinked, added MOH.
Twenty-four remaining cases were linked to previous infections and were detected through surveillance testing.
There were also eight imported cases who were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival. Two were detected upon arrival in Singapore while six developed the illness during stay-home notice or isolation.
In total, Singapore reported 61 new COVID-19 cases on Friday.
HONG LIM MARKET, JURONG FISHERY PORT CLOSED
MOH said it is investigating cases of COVID-19 infection among individuals who worked in or visited Hong Lim Market & Food Centre and Jurong Fishery Port.
There were so far seven cases linked to the Hong Lim Market & Food Centre and Jurong Fishery Port cluster, which is one of two new clusters reported on Friday.
To break the chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises, Hong Lim Market & Food Centre and Jurong Fishery Port will be closed to all members of the public from Jul 17 to Jul 31.
To quickly uncover any community infection cases, mandatory COVID-19 testing will be conducted for all visitors to Jurong Fishery Port between Jul 3 and Jul 16.
Free COVID-19 testing will also be extended to members of the public who had visited Hong Lim Market & Food Centre between Jul 2 and Jul 16.
MOH said all visitors to the premises should monitor their health closely and minimise social interactions as much as possible, for 14 days from their date of visit or interaction. They are encouraged to see a doctor immediately if they feel unwell.
NEW CLUSTER AT GRILL & HOTPOT RESTAURANT IN JALAN BESAR
The Health Ministry also said that it is investigating cases of COVID-19 infection among those who work in or visited Khoi Grill & Hotpot at 283 Jalan Besar.
There are so far seven cases linked to this new COVID-19 cluster.
To break the chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises, Khoi Grill & Hotpot has been closed to all members of the public from Jul 16 to Jul 30.
All individuals who work in or visited the restaurant have been placed on quarantine, and will be tested during quarantine, said MOH.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Khoi Grill & Hotpot By Imperial Saigon said that it would be closed for "professional cleaning" that is recognised by the National Environment Agency.
Due to the rising number of cases linked to the KTV cluster, the restaurant - which sells Vietnamese food - said some of its staff members were quarantined while several employees opted for self-quarantine or isolation.
All staff members have tested negative for COVID-19, the restaurant said in an update on Thursday.
INCREASE IN COMMUNITY CASES
MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 21 cases in the week before to 179 cases in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from nine cases in the week before to 20 cases in the past week.
The Health Ministry said there are currently 184 cases 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.
“There is continuing evidence that vaccination helps to prevent serious disease when one gets infected. Over the last 28 days, 17 local cases required oxygen supplementation, were admitted to ICU or passed away. Thirteen are unvaccinated, four are partially vaccinated and none was fully vaccinated,” added MOH.
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REVISED DINING-IN GROUP SIZE AMID OTHER TIGHTENED MEASURES
Dining-in at food and beverage (F&B) establishments will be reduced to groups of two for people who are not fully vaccinated, while those who are fully vaccinated can continue to dine-in in groups of five.
This and other tightened measures for higher-risk indoor, mask-off settings will be in effect from Jul 19 to Aug 8, co-chair of the multi-ministerial taskforce Gan Kim Yong announced on Friday.
These new measures come as a new cluster linked to KTV lounges emerged a day after dining-in in groups of five resumed on Jul 12.
Mr Gan called the growing cluster a “major setback” in Singapore’s journey to recovery.
A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after they have received two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty or Moderna vaccines.
READ: Group sizes for indoor high-intensity mask-off activities reduced amid tighter COVID-19 measures
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Unvaccinated people with a valid negative pre-event COVID-19 test (PET) result or recovered individuals can also participate in such groups of five, said MOH in a separate statement.
All nightlife establishments that had pivoted to operating as F&B outlets will be suspended for two weeks Jul 16 after a rise in COVID-19 cases, said MOH. The suspension affects more than 400 such businesses.
As of Friday, Singapore has reported a total of 62,913 COVID-19 cases.