29 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Singapore; new cluster at Giant outlet in Hougang
SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 29 new locally transmitted COVID-19 infections as of noon on Thursday (Aug 19), including a new cluster at a Giant outlet in Hougang.
The number of new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases reported on Thursday is the lowest daily count in more than a month. On Jul 13, there were 19 locally transmitted infections.
Of the new locally transmitted cases reported, 13 were not linked to previous infections, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday.
Eleven infections were linked to previous cases and had been placed on quarantine. Another five linked infections were detected through surveillance testing.
There were also three imported cases, who were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival. One infection was detected upon arrival while two developed the illness during the stay-home notice or isolation period.
Singapore reported a total of 32 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday.
GIANT SUPERMARKET AT HOUGANG AVENUE 8 AMONG TWO NEW CLUSTERS
Two new clusters were reported, including one at a Giant outlet at 683 Hougang Avenue 8. There were seven cases linked to the cluster.
Another cluster was linked to an individual case, Case 67220, with a total of 32 infections. MOH did not provide any details on the cluster.
One new case was added to the cluster at Superland Pre-School at Kreta Ayer Community Centre, bringing the total number of infections to 17.
No new cases were added to the Westlite Juniper Dormitory cluster, which currently has a total of 66 infections.
Five clusters were also closed on Thursday. There are currently 84 active clusters in Singapore.
Giant Singapore on Tuesday said that its store at 683 Hougang Avenue 8 was temporarily closed after several employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Workers identified as close contacts have been placed on quarantine.
In line with guidelines by the National Environment Agency, the store was immediately closed for deep cleaning, said Giant Singapore.
"We will reopen as soon as we possibly can, please check our Facebook page for updates on when we will resume business," it added.
Giant Singapore also said that the employees who tested positive for the virus were fully vaccinated and asymptomatic. The cases were picked up through the routine testing it conducts for all its store team members.
"We apologise for any inconvenience caused, and continue to remain vigilant in providing a safe and healthy environment for our customers and employees," it added.
EIGHT CASES IN CRITICAL CONDITION
A total of 391 cases were warded in hospital as of Thursday. Eight cases were in critical condition in the intensive care unit and 29 cases of serious illness required oxygen supplementation, said MOH.
Of those who had fallen very ill, 28 were above the age of 60, of whom 22 were completely unvaccinated or partially vaccinated.
"There is continuing evidence that almost all fully-vaccinated individuals do not suffer serious disease when infected, unless if they had underlying medical conditions that made them more susceptible," the Health Ministry said.
Over the last 28 days, the percentage of unvaccinated cases who became severely ill or died was 9.1 per cent, while that for that fully vaccinated is 1.7 per cent.
77% OF THE POPULATION FULLY VACCINATED
As of Wednesday, more than 8.5 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered under the national vaccination programme, with 4,186,252 individuals having completed the full vaccination regimen.
In addition, 153,913 doses of other vaccines recognised in the World Health Organization's Emergency Use Listing have been administered, covering 84,219 individuals.
In total, 77 per cent of Singapore's population has completed their full vaccination regimen or received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines, while 82 per cent has received at least one dose.
TRENDS FOR LOCAL CASES
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has fallen from 412 cases in the week before to 290 cases in the past week, said MOH.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also fallen from 112 cases in the week before to 80 cases in the past week.
VACCINATED TRAVEL LANES
Singapore further eased some COVID-19 restrictions as planned on Thursday, allowing larger vaccinated groups for masked-on events and religious services.
The authorities on Thursday also announced the roll-out of vaccinated travel lanes with Germany and Brunei Darussalam.
From Sep 8, fully vaccinated travellers departing from Germany or Brunei will be able to enter Singapore without serving a stay-home notice, said the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force in a press conference.
Instead, they must undergo a total of four pre-departure and post-arrival COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction tests.
Border restrictions with Hong Kong and Macao will also be eased, with eligible visitors taking a COVID-19 test on arrival instead of serving a stay-home notice in Singapore.
Additionally, Singapore will soon allow travellers fully vaccinated overseas to be eligible for vaccination-differentiated safety measures.
From 11.59pm on Friday, "tamper-proof" vaccination stickers will be issued and affixed on the passports of newly arrived travellers who have been fully inoculated with a vaccine under the World Health Organization’s emergency-use list.
To obtain this sticker, travellers must produce an English-language vaccination certificate to immigration officers at checkpoints when they arrive in Singapore.
During the press conference, Minister for Health Ong Ye Kung also said that Singapore will "very likely" have to start a COVID-19 vaccination booster exercise, particularly for severely immunocompromised people.
MOH will also be rolling out a pilot scheme to allow some fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients who have mild or no symptoms to recover at home from Aug 30.
As of Thursday, Singapore has reported a total of 66,366 COVID-19 cases and 46 fatalities.