SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 642 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Saturday (May 23), taking the national total to 31,068.
The vast majority of the new cases are foreign workers living in dormitories, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in its preliminary daily update. In a later update, it said a total of 631 cases involved these workers.
There were a total of 11 cases in the community - six people who are either Singaporeans or permanent residents, three work pass holders and two work permit holders, MOH said.
Among them are two pre-school staff members.
Case 30767 is 24-year-old Filipino national who went to work at PCF Sparkletots @ Gambas. She was confirmed to have the infection on May 22.
The second person, Case 31055, is a 54-year-old Singaporean who went to work at Shaws Preschool @ Lorong Chuan. She was similarly confirmed to have the virus on May 22.
"The number of new cases in the community has increased, from an average of five cases per day in the week before, to an average of seven per day in the past week," MOH explained.
"The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased, from an average of one case per day in the week before, to an average of two per day in the past week."
The ministry said this is because of "active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, which have picked up more cases in the past week".
"Of the new cases, 99 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing."
OTHER COMMUNITY CASES IN SINGAPORE
Aside from the two pre-school staff, there were nine other community cases reported in Singapore on Saturday.
Case 30647, a 55-year-old Singaporean man is a household contact of Case 24255. He was found to have the infection on May 22. Case 24255 is a 55-year-old Singaporean woman.
A 51-year-old man, Case 30706, is another community case reported on Saturday. The Singaporean first experienced an onset of symptoms on May 21 and was confirmed to have the infection the next day. He is currently unlinked to other cases.
One 45-year-old permanent resident, Case 30707, was also identified. He was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 22 and is the contact of Case 24348.
Case 30708 is a 29-year-old Singaporean woman who is linked to Case 26927. She tested positive for COVID-19 on May 22. Case 26927 is a Singaporean who worked at a foreign worker dormitory.
A 20-year-old Singaporean, Case 30709, was among Saturday's community cases. He first reported symptoms on May 16, and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 22. MOH said the man went to work at 31 Sungei Kadut Avenue and Cochrane Lodge I.
Among the community cases are also three people linked to the cluster at 564 A-E Balestier Road.
One of them, Case 31080, is a 53-year-old Bangladeshi national. The man was diagnosed with the virus on May 23.
Similarly, two Indian nationals were also diagnosed on the same day. Case 31081 is 35 years-old while Case 31082 is 34 years old.
All three men are contacts of Case 28069.
Another Bangladeshi national, Case 31089, was diagnosed with COVID-19 on May 23, a day after symptoms appeared. He is linked to the Jurong Penjuru dormitory cluster and is a contact of Case 29563.
NEW CLUSTERS, MORE DISCHARGED
Two new clusters were also found on Saturday: 28 Kian Teck Road and 121 Tuas View Walk 1.
Another two more clusters were also closed.
"As there have been no more cases linked to Tuas South Incineration Plant (98 Tuas South Avenue 3) and 234A Balestier Road for the past two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days), the clusters have now been closed," MOH said.
In total 927 more cases of COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.
In all, 13,882 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.
There are currently 711 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, MOH shared.
Of these, it said, most are stable or improving. Eight people are in the intensive care unit in critical condition.
On Friday, updates from the authorities showed eight patients in critical condition in the intensive care unit – the smallest number since the start of the “circuit breaker” period.
This is also the first time that the number of COVID-19 patients in the ICU fell to a single digit since the circuit breaker started on Apr 7.
Singapore will exit the circuit breaker as planned on Jun 1, with measures to be progressively lifted in three phases.
READ: COVID-19: Patients in hospitals to be allowed visitors from same or one other household from Jun 2
Under the first phase of the lifting of measures, patients warded in hospitals will be allowed to have visitors again but only if they are from the same or one other household, MOH said on Friday.
In addition, dental procedures such as scaling and polishing, fillings, crowns, dentures and orthodontic treatment will also be allowed to resume with appropriate precautions.
As part of an initiative by Temasek Foundation in partnership with the Early Childhood Development Agency and the Ministry of Education, pre-school and primary school students will each be given a face shield and hand sanitisers as they prepare to head back to the classroom from Jun 2.