SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Monday (23 March) announced 54 COVID-19 cases – a new single-day high – in Singapore, taking the country’s total to 509.
The 54 new cases ranged from 21 years old to 80 years old.
48 of them are imported cases with travel history to Europe, North America, and South-East Asia. Of these, a large majority – 34 cases – had travelled to the UK.
All 48 imported cases except one were returning Singapore residents – Singaporeans and Singapore permanent residents – and long-term pass holders.
Contact tracing is ongoing for the six remaining local transmissions with no established links, said the MOH.
Separately, eight more patients have been discharged from hospital. They are:
Case 115: 62-year-old Singaporean woman linked to SAFRA Jurong private dinner function
Case 170: 56-year-old Indonesian woman who arrived here on 9 March
Case 178: 37-year-old Filipino man who travelled to Philippines twice
Case 185: 34-year-old Singaporean man linked to SAFRA Jurong private dinner function
Case 211: 35-year-old Filipina who holds a Singapore long-term visit pass
Case 235: 31-year-old Singaporean woman linked to Church of Singapore’s Bukit Timah branch
Case 260: 48-year-old female Singapore permanent resident
Case 291: 52-year-old Indian male national who holds a long-term pass; travelled to Indonesia
In all, 152 patients have fully recovered from the virus and have been discharged from hospital, about 30 per cent of total cases.
Most of the remaining 355 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 15 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Singapore’s first two deaths from COVID-19 – a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian man – were announced by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Saturday.
Contact tracing is ongoing for a total of 31 locally-transmitted cases – out of over 210 local transmissions – to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions.
According to the MOH, a total of 298 cases here are imported, of which only 40 are visitors.
As of Monday noon, the MOH has also identified 8,351 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 2,529 are currently quarantined, and 5,822 have completed their quarantine.
New border restrictions
On Sunday, National Development Minister and multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong announced that Singapore would be barring short-term visitors from entering or transiting via the country.
Previously, except for a handful of countries, short-term visitors were allowed to enter Singapore, with the condition that they serve a 14-day stay-home notice. Separately, for work pass holders, only those involved in essential services like transport and healthcare would be allowed in.
“These are significant moves, especially for a small, open economy like Singapore that has always been connected to the world,” said Wong. He added that the tighter border controls are also aimed at focusing the government’s resources on Singaporeans returning from overseas.
Wong also said that the government is discussing measures for Singapore residents who continue to travel overseas during this period. Singapore residents and long-term pass holders entering Singapore will have to serve a 14-day stay-home notice, regardless of travel history. Authorities have advised Singapore residents to defer all travel abroad immediately.
“Any Singapore resident who may still choose to travel despite the advisories being raised to the highest level, I think there have to be consequences,” he said.
Separately, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Saturday announced that it had revoked the work passes of 89 holders for breaching entry approval and stay-home notice requirements here.
As of Monday, there are over 343,000 COVID-19 cases globally, Over 14,700 have died from the virus, the majority of them in China and Italy. The latter is now the country with the highest number of fatalities, surpassing China’s official count last week.
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COVID-19: Singapore mulling 'consequences' for citizens, residents who continue to travel overseas