SINGAPORE: Six new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore as of noon on Tuesday (Oct 20), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
This brings the national total of COVID-19 infections to 57,921.
Among the new cases are two locally transmitted COVID-19 infections, both of whom reside in dormitories.
One of them had been identified earlier as a contact of previous cases and quarantined to prevent further transmission. He was tested during quarantine to determine his status.
The remaining case was detected through the bi-weekly rostered routine testing of workers living in dormitories.
There were also four imported cases and had all been placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore.
Among them are a Singaporean who returned from Indonesia and a permanent resident who returned from India.
The remaining imported cases are work pass holders currently employed in Singapore. One of them, an Egyptian, arrived from the United Arab Emirates, while the other arrived from Germany.
The health ministry said new cases in the community have increased from two cases in the week before to four in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from none in the week before to two cases in the past week.
"We will continue to closely monitor these numbers, as well as the cases detected through our surveillance programme," it said.
MOH added that no additional COVID-19 cases were discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 57,819 have fully recovered from the infection.
There are 38 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit.
At community facilities, 36 cases are isolated and receiving care.
"These are those who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19," said the ministry.
GRADUAL EASING OF MEASURES
On Tuesday, it was announced that when Singapore moves to Phase 3 of reopening, social gatherings of up to eight people may be allowed outside the home, an increase from five currently.
Similarly, households may receive up to eight visitors.
“This would allow families with more than five persons to be able to get together and enjoy some face-to-face time that no amount of virtual interaction can replace,” Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had said at a press conference by the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.
Even amid the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, the nightlife industry is not expected to resume its activities even after Singapore enters Phase 3, as it is a sector with a higher risk setting.
READ: Nightlife industry a 'higher risk' setting, activities unlikely to resume even at start of Phase 3: Lawrence Wong
The industry - comprising bars, clubs, karaoke lounges and nightclubs - has to be prepared for “quite a long period of restrictions”, Education Minister Lawrence Wong, the co-chair of the task force said on Tuesday.
Additionally, the task force announced Singapore would pilot pre-event testing from mid-October to December to identify a model that can be widely implemented so that more large-scale events can safely resume.
This means that participants going to an event or activity will be tested either at the event venue or at a separate testing facility, and only participants who have tested negative will be allowed to participate in the event.
READ: COVID-19: Singapore to pilot pre-event rapid testing from mid-October so more events can safely resume
These events could include business-to-business events and wedding receptions, added Mr Gan.
Antigen rapid tests (ARTs) would be used for the pre-event testing, which can return “fairly accurate” results within about half an hour.
The results will be valid for 24 hours from the time of the swab, and it must be valid at the point of entry until the end of the event, said MOH in an earlier briefing.
Separately, MOH announced that Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders travelling out of Singapore who have COVID-19 symptoms within 14 days of their return will now be allowed to tap into government subsidies and insurance coverage for their medical bills.
Singapore entered Phase 2 on Jun 19, with more businesses allowed to reopen subject to safe management measures. The COVID-19 multi-ministry task force has said that it is working on a roadmap towards Phase 3, but that the country will remain in Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) Orange “for the time being”.
The number of new COVID-19 infections in Singapore has remained under 20 cases a day since the start of October, even as restrictions are gradually eased.