SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 29 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday (Dec 22), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
It is the highest daily number of cases reported since Sep 21, when 31 cases were reported.
All 29 new cases reported on Tuesday were imported, and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival in Singapore, MOH said.
Three Singaporeans and a permanent resident who returned from the United States, Costa Rica, Indonesia and India were among the new cases.
A total of 23 are work pass holders currently employed in Singapore, including 21 foreign domestic workers.
Of the 23 cases, two are work pass holders who arrived in Singapore from the US and the Philippines.
The other 21 cases are work permit holders who arrived in Singapore from the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia. All 21 work permit holders are foreign domestic workers.
The remaining two cases are short-term visit pass holders. One had arrived from India to visit a Singaporean relative while the other is a crew member of a ship that arrived from Indonesia.
The crew member did not disembark from the ship until he was taken to a quarantine facility.
All 29 imported cases were tested while serving their stay-home notice or during isolation.
No new cases were found in the community and in foreign worker dormitories.
The serological test result of Case 58662, the sole community case reported on Monday, came back positive.
This indicates a likely past infection and epidemiological investigations are ongoing.
Seventeen more COVID-19 cases were discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. A total of 58,304 cases have fully recovered from the infection.
There are currently 47 cases who are still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving. No one is in the intensive care unit.
A total of 81 cases are being cared for at community facilities. These cases have mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
SINGAPORE BARS UK TRAVELLERS OVER NEW STRAIN
Long-term pass holders and visitors with recent travel history to the United Kingdom will not be allowed entry into Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday, said MOH on Tuesday.
The travellers, including short-term visitors who have travelled to the UK within the last 14 days, will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore, said the ministry.
The announcement came after the discovery of a new highly infectious strain of the novel coronavirus in the UK, which British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said was "out of control".
The move by Singapore follows similar measures by other places that have already banned flights from Britain, including Hong Kong, India, Germany and France.
The ban will also apply to travellers who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore.
READ: Singapore to bar UK travellers over new coronavirus strain; tighter measures for those with travel history to New South Wales
Border measures for travellers with travel history to New South Wales in Australia within the past 14 days will also be tightened from 11.59pm on Wednesday due to a resurgence in the number of cases, said MOH.
All travellers from Australia will be required to declare their travel history at airline check-in prior to their flight to Singapore.
Short-term travellers holding an Air Travel Pass and who have travelled to New South Wales within the last 14 days before departure for Singapore will not be allowed to enter the country.
Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders will be subject to a seven-day stay-home notice at their place of residence, and have to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test before the end of the isolation period.
FIRST SHIPMENT OF COVID-19 VACCINES ARRIVES IN SINGAPORE
Singapore received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines on Monday evening, becoming the first country in Asia to take in the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
The shipment, transported on a Singapore Airlines freighter, arrived at Changi Airport just after 7.30pm. It was received by Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung and was taken to SATS’ cold-chain facility for storage and ground transportation.
Mr Ong spoke to reporters about Singapore’s intention to become a regional hub for the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines.
"We believe we have the capabilities to do so, to play a role to help supply and distribute to the region. I think there are two kinds of thoughts now in terms of vaccine delivery. Some countries, of course, would prefer direct delivery because they will think that is fast, point-to-point delivery," he said.
"(But) we can also play a role as a hub for distribution and transportation to the region. I don't think they're mutually exclusive ... I believe when things stabilise there will be demand for both. And we hope Singapore can play a positive, constructive role for the region," he added.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced on Dec 14 that Singapore has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
READ: Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine approved by Singapore, first shipment expected by end-December
On Monday evening, he said he was “delighted” to see the successful arrival of the first shipment, describing it as a “welcome ‘present’ that we’ve all been looking forward to”.
He added that the multi-ministry task force handling the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore will announce details of the roll-out in “due course”.
"It's been a long and arduous year. I hope that this news will give Singaporeans cheer this festive season, and reason to be optimistic for 2021," he said.
Singapore has reported a total of 58,461 cases as of Tuesday.