COVID-19: Record 142 new cases in S'pore including man who died while awaiting test results; over 98% local transmissions

Office workers in face masks seen in the central business district on 7 April, 2020, the first day of Singapore's month-long circuit breaker period. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Wednesday (8 April) 142 more coronavirus cases here, including a man who died while awaiting COVID-19 test results, bringing the country’s total to 1,623.

It is the second time in a row that the confirmed cases in the city-state hit three digits, and the third time overall following the report of 120 new patients on Sunday.

The ages for the new 142 cases ranged from 8 months to 82 years old. Of them, two are imported – out of 565 overall – while the rest, over 98 per cent, are local transmissions.

(SOURCE: MOH)

A total of 72 locally-transmitted cases currently have no established links, including a 32-year-old male Indian national, identified as case 1604, who died while awaiting test results for the virus.

The long-term pass holder had been swabbed at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) for the virus on Tuesday and was advised to stay at home but had died at his residence the next day.

He was confirmed to have the virus after his death, said the MOH. A chest X-ray indicated he did not have pneumonia and investigations are ongoing to establish the cause of death.

Among the cases with links, 40 were linked to clusters at foreign worker dormitories, while 28 were linked to non-dormitory clusters or other cases. They include:

  • 19 linked to the cluster at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol at 2 Seletar North Link, which has a total of 118 cases (including previously-announced case 1230)

  • Three linked to the cluster at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory at 18 Toh Guan Road East, which has a total of 38 cases (including previously-announced case 1400)

  • Two linked to the cluster at Toh Guan Dormitory at 19A Toh Guan Road East), which has a total of 23 cases (including previously-announced cases 1374, 1434, 1446)

  • 11 linked to the cluster at Sungei Tengah Lodge at 500 Old Choa Chu Kang Road, which has a total of 29 cases

  • Four linked to the cluster at Tampines Dormitory at 2 Tampines Place, which has a total of 21 cases

  • Three linked to the cluster at Kranji Lodge at 12 Kranji Road, which has a total of six cases

  • One linked to the cluster at a dormitory at 55 Sungei Kadut Loop, which has a total of five cases

  • Five linked to the cluster at a construction site at Project Glory at 50 Market Street, which has a total of 27 cases (including previously-announced case 1164)

  • Four linked to the cluster at Mustafa Centre at 145 Syed Alwi Road, which has a total of 50 cases (including previously-announced case 1422)

  • Three linked to the cluster at Keppel Shipyard at 51 Pioneer Sector 1, which has a total of 12 cases

Separately, the ministry also confirmed that six cases are now linked to Cochrane Lodge II at 49 Admiralty Road West, including previously-announced case 1394, while 10 are linked to Wilby Residences at 25 Wilby Road, including previously-announced case 1415.

According to the latest daily situation report by the ministry, 358 out of 1,058 locally transmitted cases currently have no known links.

NTFGH technician among new cases

Case 1466: NTFGH technician

The 31-year-old male Indian national, who holds a Singapore work pass, had no recent travel history to affected countries or regions. He reported developing symptoms on 5 April and tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

The Ng Teng Fong General Hospital technician is currently warded in an isolation room at the NCID. He had not gone to work since he developed symptoms.

29 more patients discharged, 29 in ICU

The ministry also announced that 29 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday. This means a total of 406 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged.

Most of the 669 remaining hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 29 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 542 cases – clinically well but still test positive for the virus – are isolated and cared for at Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital, Mount Alvernia Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC.

Six here have died from complications due to the virus with the latest fatality – an 88-year-old male permanent resident – succumbing to it early Saturday morning.

As of Wednesday noon, the MOH has identified 19,444 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 5,665 are currently quarantined, and 13,779 have completed their quarantine.

According to the ministry’s latest daily situational report, 62,800 stay-home notices have been issued to date, with 17,700 people currently serving them.

Measures to combat spread of coronavirus

On Tuesday, the government passed the COVID-19 temporary measures bill in Parliament, giving it the legal basis to enforce the enhanced safe distancing measures that began on the same day and will last till 4 May.

Part of these “circuit breaker” measures – announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last Friday – include the closure of schools and most workplaces. Lee also said that Singapore will no longer discourage the public from wearing face masks.

Only essential services like food establishments, markets and supermarkets, transport, and key banking services will remain open during the month-long closure.

On Sunday, the MOH gazetted two of the dorms, S11 and Westlite, as social isolation areas with almost 20,000 workers under quarantine. A third, Toh Guan Dormitory, was declared an isolation area the next day.

At the virtual media conference held by the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce, Health Minister and taskforce co-chair Gan Kim Yong also said the government is looking at preparing the Expo as a possible site for a community care facility to house patients who have recovered but are still infectious.

Separately, all Singapore residents and long-term pass holders returning from overseas apart from Hubei province must serve the 14-day stay-home notice, while those returning from Hubei must serve a 14-day quarantine. All short-term visitors are barred from entering or transiting via Singapore.

Anyone who flouts the 14-day stay-home notice by leaving the place of accommodation or residence they are serving the notice in will be subjected to steep penalties.

Patients who flout their five-day medical leave can face steep penalties such as a fine of up to $10,000 or a maximum jail term of six months, or both, according to the MOH’s latest updates to the Infectious Diseases Act.

The same penalties also apply to those who intentionally sit on a seat or stand in a queue less than one metre away from another person in public venues, from now till end-April.

Those on five-day sick leave or serving a stay-home notice must also wear a mask if they have to leave their place of accommodation to seek emergency medical treatment.

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced an additional $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget to help businesses and households.

The government’s response to COVID-19 will total $59.9 billion, or about 12 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product.

Over 1.4m cases globally

To date, there are over 1.4 million COVID-19 cases globally. Over 83,000 have died from the virus, with Italy and Spain accounting for close to 40 per cent of the total.

At over 400,000 cases, the US now holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Spain at over 146,000 cases, Italy at over 135,000, followed by France and Germany at over 109,000 each.

China, where the virus originated, has close to 82,000 cases and on Tuesday reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January.

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