SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 81 new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Saturday (Aug 15), including 10 seafarers who arrived on a vessel from India earlier this month.
Singapore's total number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 55,661, with fatalities remaining at 27.
In all, 16 of the new cases were imported, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). This is the highest number of imported cases since Apr 1, when there were 19 such infections.
VESSEL FROM INDIA LINKED TO CASES AMONG 15 CREW MEMBERS
The 10 seafarers are all Filipino special pass holders who arrived on the vessel from India on Aug 8. They did not disembark until they tested positive for COVID-19 and were taken to the hospital in ambulances, said the ministry.
"As they had been identified as close contacts of previous cases, they were swabbed while on the vessel even though five of them are asymptomatic," said MOH in a later update.
The 10 seafarers reported on Saturday are the latest in a string of infections among crew members from the same vessel.
On Thursday, MOH reported that four seafarers tested positive for COVID-19 after arriving on a vessel from India on Aug 8. Those four Filipino seafarers were linked to another COVID-19 case reported on Wednesday, also a seaman from the Philippines, said MOH.
Additionally, a technician who boarded the affected vessel between Aug 8 and Aug 12 to carry out essential repair and maintenance work has also been confirmed with COVID-19.
The man, a Filipino national holding a work pass, is one of the three community cases in Singapore reported on Saturday.
He was placed on quarantine when some crew members were confirmed to have COVID-19, and swabbed even though he was asymptomatic, said MOH.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) confirmed in a statement early on Sunday that all 15 Filipino seafarers were crew members on the Bahamas-registered ocean-going vessel.
The ship, which carried 22 crew members in total, had arrived in Singapore to conduct repairs and refuel. After testing positive, the 15 crew members were transferred ashore and taken to hospital.
"The remaining crew members are currently quarantined onboard the ship," said MPA.
"Provisions are lifted up the ship to the crew to minimise physical contact," it added.
MPA also said that the ship is currently quarantined with no ongoing operations, and will be thoroughly disinfected.
READ: 15 crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 worked on ship that was in Singapore for repairs, refuel: MPA
REMAINING IMPORTED AND COMMUNITY CASES
Among the six other imported cases, three are dependant's pass holders who arrived from India on Jul 31 and South Africa on Jul 29, added MOH.
The other three are work pass or permit holders working in Singapore. They arrived from Bangladesh on Aug 1 and the Philippines on Aug 2.
All six had been placed on stay-home notice when they arrived in Singapore.
Meanwhile, two of the infections in the community are Singaporeans. Both are women and contacts of previously confirmed cases.
The 62 remaining cases are individuals residing in dormitories.
3 CASES HAD VISITED KTV AT HOMETEAMNS KHATIB
In Saturday's report, MOH said that investigations found that three cases had visited Jewel Music Box KTV at HomeTeamNS Khatib on Aug 1 and Aug 2.
Two of them had been at the KTV for long periods for work purposes, MOH added.
Visitors were invited to preview the new, yet to be opened KTV premise on both dates and most stayed for a short period of time.
"The KTV was not operational during the visits and there were no singing activities held. Therefore the risk of infection for visitors is assessed to be low," said MOH.
However as a precautionary measure, the ministry said it will be contacting those who had visited the KTV on those days and facilitating COVID-19 testing for them.
"We advise all visitors to the Jewel Music Box KTV at HomeTeamNS Khatib during the affected dates to monitor their health and seek medical attention promptly should they develop acute respiratory infection symptoms," MOH said.
READ: 3 COVID-19 cases visited KTV at HomeTeamNS Khatib during preview; MOH to facilitate tests for visitors who went on same days
472 MORE CASES DISCHARGED
MOH added in the report that 472 more cases of COVID-19 have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.
"In all, 51,521 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities."
There are currently 83 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit.
A total of 4,030 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
READ: Singapore may have to consider replacing 2-week COVID-19 isolation with 'rigorous testing regime' for travellers: Ong Ye Kung
Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Friday that Singapore may have to consider replacing the two-week isolation period for arriving travellers with a "rigorous testing regime", as part of efforts to "revive" the country's air hub.
Singapore and Japan on Thursday announced that both countries have agreed to resume essential business travel, with officials tasked to finalise the agreement by early September.