Daily high of 942 new COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore

Daily high of 942 new COVID-19 cases reported in Singapore

S11 dormitory Singapore
View of the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol in Singapore on Apr 17, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: A record of 942 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore as of noon on Saturday (Apr 18), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a media release, bringing the national total to 5,992.

Of the new cases, 893 are work permit holders living in foreign worker dormitories, while another 27 are those living outside dormitories.

Within the local community, there are 22 cases, comprising 14 Singaporeans and permanent residents, six work pass holders, one dependant’s pass holder and one person on a long-term visit pass.

The number of new cases in the community has gone down, MOH noted, from an average of 40 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 31 per day in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community, however, has increased slightly, from an average of 19 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 22 per day in the past week.

READ: MOH flags concern over unlinked COVID-19 cases, says tests on patients at primary care facilities indicate 'undetected cases in community'

"We will continue to monitor the numbers carefully as the circuit breaker period continues. The contact tracing and epidemiology teams are working to identify the source of infection for the unlinked cases, but this will become increasingly difficult as time passes," said the ministry. 

It added that of the new cases, 79 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing. 

THREE NEW CLUSTERS

Three new clusters have been identified - Homestay Lodge (39 Kaki Bukit Avenue 3), CDPL Tuas Dormitory (6 Tuas South Street 15) and TTJ Design & Engineering Pte Ltd (57 Pioneer Road). 

Meanwhile, the cluster at boulder+ Gym (12 Kallang Avenue) has been closed, as there have been no new cases for the past 28 days. 

There are no imported cases on Saturday.

A total of 38 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total number of recoveries in Singapore to 740.

Most of the 2,563 cases remaining in hospital are stable or improving. Twenty-three of them are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Another 2,678 cases who are clinically well but still testing positive for COVID-19 are currently isolated and cared for at community facilities.

In its daily update, the ministry also said that a 40-year-old Malaysian man who was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Friday died from causes not due to the coronavirus. 

The man known as case 4754 died on Saturday. 

"The cause of death was acute myocardial infarction with cardiogenic shock, and was not due to complications from COVID-19 infection," said MOH.

One case from the public healthcare sector was reported on Saturday - a 28-year-old Indian national who worked as a housekeeper at Singapore General Hospital (SGH). He reported symptoms on Apr 15 and the infection was confirmed on Apr 17.

He has not been to work since displaying symptoms, said MOH.

The full list of cases is provided on the ministry's website.

Singapore COVID-19 cases Apr 18, 2020

EXPECT TO SEE MORE DORM CASES: PM LEE

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong noted the rising number of cases in dormitories, adding that most of these are mild cases.

"The migrant workers who are ill are getting the medical treatment they need. Fortunately, the vast majority of the cases are mild, because the workers are young. Our healthcare teams continue to monitor their conditions," he wrote. 

READ: ‘Dedicated strategy’ to break COVID-19 spread in dormitories, including housing healthy workers in army camps

Mr Lee said that while efforts have been made to break the chain of transmission in foreign worker dormitories, it will take some time to show results. 

"So we must expect to see more dorm cases for a while longer. But we are building up our healthcare and isolation facilities to handle the load," he added.

Thirteen of such dormitories have so far been declared isolation areas, meaning that the workers will not be allowed to leave their rooms for 14 days. 

READ: COVID-19: All foreign worker dormitories to have medical teams of doctors and nurses from hospitals, polyclinics

READ: Two weeks and a 70-fold increase: A look into the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore's foreign worker dormitories

MOH had on Friday also expressed concern over unlinked cases of COVID-19, saying that tests on a sample of individuals at primary care facilities have picked up several positive diagnoses, which indicate "undetected cases in the community".

"We are particularly concerned that it is increasingly difficult to link the new cases and identify the source of infection," said the ministry. 

"In fact, the number of unlinked cases in the community has increased slightly, from an average of 19 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 22 per day in the past week.”

Saturday marks day 12 of Singapore's month-long "circuit breaker" - a period with enhanced safe distancing measures in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19. Most workplaces are closed and schools have transitioned to full home-based learning.

The Prime Minister said there are "a few early signs" that the circuit breaker is bringing down local cases in the broader community.

"But we are still worried about hidden cases circulating in our population, which are keeping the outbreak going," he added.

"The next few days will be critical. All of us must do our part, in order to defeat COVID-19."

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Source: CNA/ga(gs)

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