COVID-19: 23 new cases detected, Singapore total now at 455

An elderly woman in a wheelchair seen in Orchard Road on 21 March 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday (22 March) announced 23 new cases of COVID-19 infection, taking the country’s total to 455.

Of these new cases, 18 are imported while five were local, said MOH in a press release. All the imported cases had a travel history to Europe, North America, South America and ASEAN, with 17 being returning residents and Long-Term Pass holders.

Out of the five local cases, one is linked to the boulder+ Gym cluster, two are linked to previous cases and two are currently unlinked.

On Saturday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong announced Singapore’s first two deaths from COVID-19 – a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and 64-year-old Indonesian man.

Four more cases that were detected earlier have also been discharged from hospital, with the total number of discharged patients now at 144. Of the 309 cases still in hospital, most are stable or improving, while 14 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit (ICU).

As of noon on Sunday, MOH has identified and quarantined 7,957 close contacts of confirmed cases. Of these, 2,310 are still quarantine while the remainder have completed their quarantine.

(Information provided by MOH)
(Information provided by MOH)
(Information provided by MOH)

New border restrictions

Earlier 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.

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 citizens and residents who continue to travel overseas during this period.

“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.

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