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1 community case among 16 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore; new cluster formed

1 community case among 16 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore; new cluster formed

People wearing face masks at Marine Parade Central on Sep 14, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: One community case is among the 16 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Wednesday (May 5), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The new community case is linked to three previous dormitory infections who tested positive last month. They form a new cluster, bringing the number of active clusters in Singapore to 10. 

This is the first time in a week that no new cases have been linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster, which is currently the country's largest active cluster with 40 cases.

NEW CLUSTER FORMED, CASES WERE AT PASIR PANJANG TERMINAL

The sole community case reported on Wednesday is a 59-year-old Singaporean who is linked to previous cases. 

The man, known as Case 62824, is employed by GKE Express Logistics as a trailer truck driver at Brani Terminal and Pasir Panjang Terminal. He was last at work on May 1. 

He developed a fever and sore throat on May 2 and remained at home. The next day, he sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic and was tested for COVID-19.

His result came back positive for COVID-19 on May 4 and he was taken in an ambulance to Alexandra Hospital. His serology test result is pending.

READ: PSA port workers at Pasir Panjang Terminal to be tested after new COVID-19 cluster found

READ: Food centres in Chinatown, Clementi among places visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

MOH said investigations found that the man and three COVID-19 cases who tested positive last month had been at Pasir Panjang Terminal for work, and transmission could have occurred at the terminal. 

Further epidemiological investigations are ongoing. As a precautionary measure, the Health Ministry said it will test port workers employed by PSA Singapore who had been deployed at Pasir Panjang Terminal.

All four cases have now been linked to form a new cluster. The first detected case was a 23-year-old Indian national who works as a lashing specialist at Pasir Panjang Terminal. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Apr 10.

2 STUDENT PASS HOLDERS FROM INDIA AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 15 cases reported on Wednesday were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, said the ministry.

Among them are five Singaporeans and two permanent residents who returned from India, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

A dependant's pass holder who arrived from India and who has a Singaporean family member is also among the imported cases.

There are two student's pass holders who arrived from India and Myanmar.

"They were already studying in Singapore before, and had returned to their home country, or had been emplaced on their course earlier," said MOH.

The other imported cases include three work pass holders who arrived from the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

READ: Singapore to extend stay-home notice to 21 days for travellers from higher-risk places

The remaining two cases are work permit holders who arrived from the Philippines and Sri Lanka, of whom one is a foreign domestic worker.

"The arrivals from the Indian sub-continent had already come in to Singapore before the restrictions on travel were imposed," said MOH.

Since 11.59pm on Apr 23, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history, including transit, to India within the past 14 days were not be allowed entry into or to transit through Singapore

These border measures were also applied to all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history, including transit, to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka from 11.59pm on May 1. 

No new cases were reported in migrant workers' dormitories.

READ: Singapore returns to tighter COVID-19 measures: What's allowed under the new rules?



INCREASE IN OVERALL NUMBER OF COMMUNITY CASES

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 13 cases in the week before to 62 cases in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from six cases in the week before to seven cases in the past week. 

Among the 182 confirmed cases reported from Apr 29 to May 5, 49 cases have tested positive for their serology tests while 101 have tested negative. A further 32 serology test results are pending.

Twenty-one more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 60,844.

There are 131 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and two is in critical condition in the intensive care unit. The cases in the intensive care unit are not linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster. 

Another 262 patients are being 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.

TIGHTER COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS

Amid a rise in community cases, Singapore will reduce the limit for social gatherings to five people, down from eight currently, from May 8 to May 30.

The cap also applies to households, which will only be able to receive five different visitors a day.

READ: Cap of 5 people for social gatherings, household visits to return as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

READ: Some F&B outlets bracing for impact after new 5-person limit on social gatherings

This was part of a series of tighter measures announced on Tuesday that will see the country return to Phase 2 of its reopening for a few weeks.

The proportion of employees returning to the workplace will also be reduced to 50 per cent, down from 75 per cent.

Several other measures were announced, including the closure of indoor gyms, pre-event testing for worship services and cinemas, and a reduction in event sizes.

The mandatory use of TraceTogether-only SafeEntry at higher risk venues will also be brought forward by about two weeks to May 17.

Border measures have also been tightened. Travellers from higher-risk places will have to serve a 21-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities from May 8.

Requirements for incoming travellers will be determined according to their travel history in the past 21 days, up from the current 14-day travel history period.

READ: Singapore to extend stay-home notice to 21 days for travellers from higher-risk places

READ: Possibility of circuit breaker 'not ruled out' as COVID-19 task force announces tighter measures

Co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong said that while authorities hope the measures will slow down the spread of the disease, 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 Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,268 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities from the disease.

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Source: CNA/dv/zl(ta/mi)

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