4 locals among 354 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore; crosses 49,000 mark

Voters wear protective face masks as they queue up at a polling station during Singapore's general election, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore July 10, 2020.  REUTERS/Edgar Su
Voters wear protective face masks as they queue up at a polling station during the general election amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Singapore on 10 July, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 354 new COVID-19 cases as of Thursday (23 July), bringing the total to 49,098, as well as 220 more recoveries.

The ministry also added several new places to a list of public venues visited by community cases while infectious. They include Golden Village at VivoCity – added 10 days after cinemas were officially allowed to open – West Mall and Bukit Panjang Plaza.

Of the new cases, eight – including four Singaporeans – are classified as cases in the community, while five – including two permanent residents – are imported cases. The remaining 341 are foreign workers living in dormitories.

Overall, only two per cent of the new cases have no established links.

Six of the eight community cases are asymptomatic and were detected through proactive testing, said the MOH.

Two community cases are linked to previous cases or clusters. Both – no. 48830 and 49177 – had been identified as contacts of a previously confirmed case, and placed on quarantine earlier.

The duo – who are both linked to the Toh Guan Dormitory cluster – were tested during quarantine to determine their status even though they are asymptomatic.

Half of the six unlinked community cases – no. 48879, 48883, and 48884 – were detected from proactive screening of workers in essential services who are living outside dorms, even though they are asymptomatic.

The serological test results for cases 48883 and 48884 have come back positive, which indicate likely past infections, while the test result for case 48879 is pending.

The fourth case – no. 48979 – was swabbed as part of efforts to screen individuals working in frontline COVID-19 operations, and had been detected before symptoms onset, said the MOH.

The remaining two cases were tested as part of community testing, it added.

Case 48916 was tested under the enhanced community testing to test all individuals aged 13 and above who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection at first presentation to a doctor. Case 48953 is asymptomatic, but was referred for a COVID-19 test when she had visited a polyclinic to collect her medication for a pre-existing respiratory condition.

“Epidemiological investigations of the unlinked cases are in progress. In the meantime, all the identified close contacts of the cases have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so that we can detect asymptomatic cases,” said the MOH.

Serological tests will also be conducted for their household contacts to determine if these cases could have been infected by them, the ministry added.

Amongst the five imported cases, two 12-year-olds – cases 48880 and 48881– are PRs who returned to Singapore from India on 12 July.

Another two – cases 48832 and 48900 – are work pass holders who are currently employed in Singapore and had arrived from India on 11 and 12 July. The fifth case – no. 48831 – is a dependant’s pass holder who arrived from India on 11 July.

“All of them had been placed on 14-day stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, and had been tested while serving their notice,” the MOH said.

The ministry also noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased, from an average of 12 cases per day in the week before, to an average of nine per day in the past week.

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased, from an average of seven cases per day in the week before, to an average of five per day in the past week.

As of Monday, about 247,000 foreign workers living in dorms have either recovered, or have been tested to be free from the virus. Of Singapore’s total COVID-19 tally, over 46,284 – some 94 per cent – are such workers.

Some 92% recovered, 0 in ICU

With 220 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday, 45,015 cases – 91.7 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 137 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while none are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 3,919 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 27 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 15 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, 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 20 July, the ministry has conducted 1,170,049 swab tests, of which 571,496 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 205,300 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 100,300 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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