SINGAPORE: Five community cases were among 17 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Tuesday (May 4), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
All the new community cases are linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster and were detected from the proactive testing of patients, visitors and hospital employees or their close contacts, said the ministry. The community cases had already been quarantined.
The remaining 12 cases reported on Tuesday were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore.
No new infections were reported in migrant workers' dormitories.
THREE VISITORS AMONG NEW CASES IN TTSH CLUSTER
Three people who visited Ward 9D between Apr 18 and Apr 28 are among the five new cases linked to the TTSH cluster. The other two are a pharmacist and a patient.
A 53-year-old Singaporean woman, Case 62801, visited the ward on multiple occasions between Apr 18 and Apr 28. She was contacted by MOH on Apr 29 night to self-isolate, and placed in quarantine the next day. Although she was asymptomatic, she was tested for COVID-19. Her test came back positive on May 2. The woman received her first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Apr 17.
Case 62807 is a 45-year-old Filipino woman who visited the ward on Apr 25. She was placed in quarantine on Apr 30 and developed symptoms on May 2. She reported her symptoms and was tested for COVID-19. Her test result came back positive the next day.
Case 62808 is a 39-year-old Indonesian woman who visited the ward on Apr 21 and Apr 22. She was placed in quarantine on Apr 30. She developed a sore throat and fever on May 3 and reported her symptoms. Her COVID-19 test result came back positive.
A pharmacist is the latest TTSH staff member to test positive for the virus. The 25-year-old Singaporean man had interacted with patients and other employees at Ward 9D on Apr 20. He was last at work on Apr 28.
READ: Newton Food Centre, Velocity@Novena Square among places visited by COVID-19 cases linked to TTSH cluster
"He developed a mild runny nose on Apr 30 which resolved on the same day," said MOH. He was tested for COVID-19 on May 1 and quarantined in the early morning of May 3. He completed the full vaccination regimen on Mar 18.
Case 62816 is a 64-year-old Singaporean man who had been a patient in Ward 9D on Apr 26 and was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Apr 27. He was tested for COVID-19 on Apr 28 and Apr 30, and his results were negative.
He was tested again on May 2 after developing a cough and fever. His result came back positive on May 4.
Of the 12 imported cases reported on Tuesday, one is Singaporean and two are permanent residents who returned from India.
Three cases are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from the Maldives and Nepal, while another case is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from Malaysia.
A student’s pass holder who arrived from Japan is also among the imported cases, as is a work pass holder from the Philippines.
The remaining three cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, Indonesia and Malaysia, of whom one is a foreign domestic worker.
They had all already been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore and were tested while serving their stay-home notice.
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from 11 cases in the week before to 64 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from four cases in the week before to 10 cases in the past week.
Seventeen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 60,823 people in Singapore have fully recovered from the infection.
There are currently 131 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and two patients are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. The two cases in critical condition are not linked to the TTSH cluster, said MOH.
Another 267 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are people who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
READ: Hospitals to defer non-urgent surgeries, admissions to conserve resources as COVID-19 cases rise
TIGHTER COVID-19 MEASURES
Singapore on Tuesday tightened COVID-19 measures that will take it back to Phase 2 of its reopening for a few weeks.
From May 8 to May 30, social gatherings will be limited to groups of five people, down from the current eight.
The cap also applies to households, which will only be able to receive five different visitors a day.
More employees will have to work from home, with the proportion allowed to return to the workplace reduced from 75 per cent to 50 per cent.
READ: Cap of 5 people for social gatherings, household visits to return as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures
Indoor gyms will be closed.
Pre-event testing will be required for worship services and cinemas with more than 100 attendees.
Attractions, libraries, tours and MICE events will also operate at reduced capacities.
In addition, the implementation of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry at all higher-risk venues will also be brought forward by two weeks to May 17.
Border measures have also been tightened.
Travellers who have recently been to high-risk places will need to serve a 21-day stay-home notice period at dedicated facilities starting May 8.
Higher risk countries and regions refer to all places except Australia, Brunei, mainland China, New Zealand, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.
Border measures for incoming travellers will also be determined according to their recent travel history in the past 21 days to countries or regions, up from the current 14-day travel history period.
READ: Travellers with recent travel history to higher risk places will serve 21-day stay-home notice from May 8
Mr Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force said that while authorities hope the new community measures will slow the spread of COVID-19, another circuit breaker is not out of the question.
"If new unlinked cases continue to emerge in the coming days and weeks, then certainly, we will not hesitate to take even more stringent measures, even the possibility of having to enter another circuit breaker down the road," he said.
As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,252 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities from the disease.