SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 179 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections as of noon on Wednesday (Jul 21), with 130 cases linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster and eight belonging to the KTV lounges cluster.
There are now 454 cases linked to the Jurong Fishery Port/Hong Lim Market & Food Centre cluster, making it the largest active cluster in the country.
A total of 215 cases have been linked to the KTV lounges cluster.
Among the new cases announced on Wednesday, 149 are linked to previous infections, with 80 already placed in quarantine and 69 detected through surveillance testing.
The remaining 30 infections were not linked to previous cases, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its subsequent update.
Four of the new cases were seniors above 70 years old who were not vaccinated and are at risk of serious illness, said MOH.
There were also two imported infections, who were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival. Both developed the illness during the stay-home notice or isolation period.
In total, there were 181 new cases of COVID-19 in Singapore on Wednesday.
MARINA BAY SANDS CASINO CLOSED
Two new clusters have been identified: The Marina Bay Sands Casino cluster with a total of 11 cases and the Case 65231 cluster with four infections.
MOH did not provide further information on Case 65231.
There are currently 28 active clusters in Singapore, ranging between three and 454 infections.
MOH said it is investigating cases of COVID-19 infection involving individuals who worked in or visited Marina Bay Sands Casino.
Eleven cases have been linked to the cluster so far and MOH said its epidemiological investigations have found that there is likely ongoing transmission at the casino.
To break the chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises, Marina Bay Sands Casino will be closed to all members of the public from Jul 22 to Aug 5.
Special testing operations for all staff members of the casino will be conducted.
Free COVID-19 testing will also be extended to members of the public who had visited Marina Bay Sands Casino between Jul 7 and Jul 21.
2 MORE MARKETS CLOSED
A total of 22 cases have been detected among individuals who worked in or visited Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre while 12 infections were found at Whampoa Drive Market.
Both markets will be closed to all members of the public from Jul 22 to Aug 5 to break the chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises.
The two markets are the latest to be found linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster. The other markets are Chong Boon Market & Food Centre, Chong Pang Market, Haig Road Market & Food Centre and Hong Lim Market & Food Centre.
MOH also said that free COVID-19 testing will be extended to those who visited Clementi 448 Market & Food Centre at Clementi Avenue 3 and Haig Road Market & Food Centre between Jul 7 and Jul 21.
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As an added layer of ringfencing to help to identify cases and prevent further transmission, MOH said it is working with the People’s Association to distribute antigen rapid test (ART) self-test kits to people who had visited selected markets and food centres in the last 14 days.
The collection will run from Jul 22 to Jul 23 at Residents’ Committee Centres near Whampoa Drive Market and 726 West Coast Market.
MOH said those eligible for the ART kits are “strongly encouraged” to collect and use them. More information on self-collection can be found online.
ONE MORE KTV IDENTIFIED
Epidemiological investigations have found that there is likely ongoing transmission at Sakura Entertainment, located at 517 Geylang Road.
All visitors are advised to monitor their health closely, and minimise social interactions as far as possible, for 14 days from their date of visit or interaction.
"We also advise all visitors to markets and food centres to avoid crowds and to do your marketing during off-peak hours, or at supermarkets, and to strictly observe the safe management measures," said MOH.
The overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 88 cases in the week before to 766 cases in the past week.
"We are likely to continue to see high number of cases in the coming days as we step up efforts to detect them to contain their spread in the community," said the Health Ministry.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from 14 in the week before to 82 cases in the past week.
A total of 379 cases are currently warded in hospital, with most well and under observation.
There are currently seven cases of serious illness requiring oxygen supplementation, and one in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
None among these eight cases is fully vaccinated. Two seniors above 60 years have fallen very ill, with one completely unvaccinated and the other partially vaccinated, said MOH.
"There is continuing evidence that vaccination helps to prevent serious disease when one gets infected. Over the last 28 days, eight local cases required oxygen supplementation, were admitted to ICU or passed away.
"Six are unvaccinated, 2 are partially vaccinated and none was fully vaccinated."
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RETURN TO PHASE 2 (HEIGHTENED ALERT)
Dining-in will be suspended and group sizes for social gatherings will be reduced to two people from Thursday as Singapore returns to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) to combat the rise in local COVID-19 cases.
The measures will be in effect until Aug 18 and will supersede the measures that were introduced on Monday, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release on Tuesday.
READ: COVID-19 cases detected at 35 markets and food centres so far, linked to fishery port cluster: MOH
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The Government will review the measures in two weeks and adjust them based on the situation then, the ministry added.
The President's Office on Wednesday announced that the Istana open house event scheduled for Aug 1 will be postponed to a later date, after the announcement of Singapore's return to Phase 2 (Heightened Alert).
As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 63,621 COVID-19 cases and 36 fatalities from the disease.