119 new COVID-19 cases in S'pore with 3 in community; Northpoint's Seoul Garden added to list

A vendor selling umbrellas seen at the Clementi Town Centre on 19 June 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
People in masks buying umbrellas from a vendor at the Clementi Town Centre on 19 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — In its lowest daily reported tally in over two months, the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Tuesday (23 June) 119 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 42,432.

The latest daily tally is the lowest since 7 April, when 106 cases were reported.

The ministry also confirmed the death of a 48-year-old male Indian national who had earlier recovered from COVID-19 but was determined to have died from coronary heart disease on Tuesday.

Of the new cases, three are classified as cases in the community, while the remaining 116 are foreign workers living in dormitories.

The community cases, all men, are a 53-year-old permanent resident, a 36-year-old Filipino, and a 52-year-old Chinese national. They have been classified as local unlinked cases, among the three per cent, of new cases on Tuesday, with no established links.

The PR, identified as case 42462, had been detected due to the surveillance of persons working at dormitories, even though he had no symptoms, said the MOH.

Both the work pass and permit holders, cases 42405 and 42438, had no symptoms but were tested as part of efforts to screen workers in essential services, the ministry added.

The community cases were subjected to polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, or swab tests, as well as serological tests to determine if they had current or past infections.

The serological test result for the PR came back positive, which indicates likely past infection, while the results for the remaining cases are pending, said the MOH.

The ministry added that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from an average of seven cases per day in the week before, to an average of four per day in the past week.

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has remained stable at an average of two per day in the past two weeks.

Separately, the ministry added a new location to the list of public venues visited by infectious community cases for over 30 minutes. Seoul Garden at Northpoint City was visited on 19 June from 8.05pm to 9.40pm.

First published on 25 May, the list – which excludes residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and public transport – will be updated on a rolling 14-day basis or one incubation period.

Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,774 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 2,055 cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,809 cases, Cassia @ Penjuru with 1,474 cases and Tuas View Dormitory with 1,409 cases.

These dorms, the top five clusters with the highest number of cases here, account for some 24 per cent of the total 40,024 infected workers living in dorms. Some 400,000 such workers live in such residences here.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Tuesday that 31 more dorms have been cleared of COVID-19: 27 factory-converted dormitories and four construction temporary quarters.

Four blocks for recovered workers in three purpose-built dorms have also been cleared, the MOM added.

This takes the total number to 163 dorms and 18 blocks for recovered workers in 11 purpose-built dorms cleared of COVID-19.

As of Monday, about 79,000 foreign workers have been cleared of COVID-19, including those residing in government-provided accommodation facilities, said the MOM. Last week, a forecast of dormitories and blocks to be cleared from now till August onwards was published on the ministry’s website.

Some 85% have fully recovered

With 405 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Tuesday, 35,995 cases – some 85 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 192 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 6,219 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 26 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 11 others who tested positive for the virus were determined to have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another four, including the 48-year-old male Indian national, whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

“Only cases where the attending doctor or pathologist attributes the primary or underlying cause of death as due to COVID-19 infection will be added to the COVID-19 death count,” said the MOH in previous press releases, adding that the method of assessment is consistent with international practices for classifying deaths.

As of 15 June, the ministry has conducted 576,189 swab tests, of which 340,894 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 101,100 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 59,800 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

Singapore entered Phase 2 of its reopening – with various safe distancing measures still in place – on 19 June. This phase is expected to last up to six months or longer, according to authorities.

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