1,426 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, mostly foreign workers in dormitories

1,426 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, mostly foreign workers in dormitories

Tuas South dormitory (4)
Residents queue for their food at a Tuas South foreign workers dormitory on Apr 19, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported a daily high of 1,426 new COVID-19 cases on Monday (Apr 20), bringing the national total to 8,014. 

The vast majority of the new cases - 1,369 - are work permit holders living in foreign worker dormitories, according to a Ministry of Health (MOH) update on Monday night.

"The main increase today continues to be for work permit holders residing in dormitories, where we are picking up many more cases because of extensive testing," said the ministry. "These are not new infections as the workers are staying in their rooms and many have not reported sick. But when the teams go in to test them, many turn out to be positive."

Most of them have a mild illness and are being monitored in community isolation facilities or general wards. None are in the intensive care unit, MOH said.

INTERACTIVE: All the COVID-19 clusters at dorms and construction sites

The number of new cases among work permit holders living outside the dormitories has continued to increase, with 32 such cases reported. These cases have gone up from an average of 13 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 24 per day in the past week, said MOH.

Within the local community, there are 25 cases, comprising 18 Singaporeans and permanent residents and seven work pass holders. 

The number of new cases in the community has decreased from an average of 39 cases per day in the week before to an average of 29 per day in the past week, said MOH.

Meanwhile the number of unlinked cases in the community has remained "relatively constant", said the ministry, with an average of 20 cases per day for the past two weeks.

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

There were no new imported cases.

MOH new COVID-19 cases grafa Apr 20

Of the new cases, 63 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.

Thirty-three more COVID-19 cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 801 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.

Of the 3,420 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving, said MOH. Twenty-three are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. A total of 3,782 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. 

Singapore is now the worst-hit country in Southeast Asia, surpassing figures in Indonesia and the Philippines.

READ: 'I think about my family, not about me' - A foreign worker stricken with COVID-19 has concerns far away

THREE NEW CLUSTERS

MOH identified three new clusters: A cluster at Jurong Apartments (555 Upper Jurong Road), a cluster at Woodlands Lodge II (190 Woodlands Industrial Park E7) and another at 8 Sungei Kadut Loop.

In the past week (from Apr 13 to Apr 19), the Health Ministry said it had uncovered links for 484 previously unlinked cases.

Three previously confirmed cases have now been linked to the new cluster at Jurong Apartments.

Eleven previously announced cases have now been linked to the new cluster at Woodlands Lodge II.

Nine previously announced cases have now been linked to the new cluster at 8 Sungei Kadut Loop.

The health ministry also announced links between previously confirmed cases and existing clusters.

Topping the list was S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, which saw 469 additional cases linked to it, taking its total to 1,977.

Twenty additional cases were linked to Sungei Tengah Lodge, taking its total to 540 cases.

A total of 203 additional cases were linked to Tuas View Dormitory, which now has a total of 460 cases.

A summary of the cases is provided on the ministry's website.

A total of 18 foreign worker dormitories have been gazetted as isolation areas, as the number of COVID-19 cases there continues to rise. 

All work permit holders and S Pass holders in the construction sector have been placed on mandatory stay-home notices until May 4 as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19. 

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) noted that while the recent rise in number of foreign workers infected with the coronavirus has mostly been concentrated in dormitories, there have been cases at construction worksites. 

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Source: CNA/zl(hs/gs)

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