SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 73 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday (Mar 25) and announced a new cluster involving the PAP Community Foundation (PCF) Sparkletots centre in Fengshan, which is linked to 18 cases in total.
Another new cluster was also announced involving Dover Court International School (301 Dover Road), which is linked to three confirmed cases.
The latest cases bring Singapore's total number of COVID-19 cases to 631, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release.
READ: All PCF centres to close for 4 days after 14 employees, including principal, infected with COVID-19
Of the new cases, 38 were imported cases with travel history to Europe, North America, ASEAN and other parts of Asia. All except one were returning residents and long-term pass holders.
Of the new cases, 27 are linked to clusters or previous cases and eight are unlinked.
The new cases include a three-year-old girl who had travelled to the US, another three-year-old girl of Indian nationality who is a long-term pass holder and is linked to case 453, as well as an 11-year-old boy, linked to case 532.
Cases 556, 618 and 626 are linked to the cluster involving Dover Court International School. All three patients are employees at the school.
The 18 cases linked to the PCF Sparkletots cluster are cases 516, 521, 566, 567, 572, 583, 584, 601, 602, 603, 604, 605, 609, 610, 612, 614, 617 and 624. Fourteen of them are employees at the preschool and four - cases 521, 566, 567 and 572 - are family members of case 601.
Five more patients have recovered and were discharged, bringing the total to 160. Two patients died last Saturday.
Of the 404 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving, and 17 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
MOH added that 65 patients who are clinically well but tested positive for COVID-19 have been transferred to Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC for isolation and care.
On Wednesday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in Parliament that Singapore has increased the number of teams for contact tracing from three to 20 in order to prepare for an "expected surge" in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks.
Mr Gan said that with around 200,000 overseas Singaporeans returning home from all over the world, the number of cases will continue to rise.
The health minister also noted that while Singapore has sufficient capacity in its healthcare system to handle the COVID-19 outbreak, the country cannot be complacent and needs to preserve its buffer capacity.
READ: Sufficient capacity in healthcare system amid COVID-19 outbreak, but Singapore cannot be complacent: Gan Kim Yong
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong highlighted in Parliament that there was no need to stockpile food and other essential supplies despite tightened measurements to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
His comments came a day after a slew of initiatives - such as limiting gatherings outside of school and work and closing entertainment venues such as night clubs, karaoke outlets and cinemas - was announced to curb the coronavirus outbreak.