COVID-19: 4 Singaporeans among 202 new infections; 6 community cases

People having their temperature taken using a contactless temperature scanner before checking-in at a supermarket in Singapore on 19 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Monday (29 June) 202 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 43,661, as well as 477 more recoveries.

The MOH also confirmed three additional clusters linked to dormitories at Woodlands: 38 Woodlands Industrial Park E1 #04-18/19, 210 Woodlands Industrial Park E5, and 170 Woodlands Industrial Park E7.

Of the new cases, six – including four Singaporeans – are classified as community cases, while the remaining 196 are foreign workers living in dormitories.

Amongst the four Singaporean cases, case 43538 had been identified as a contact of a previously confirmed case, and had already been quarantined earlier, it added. He was swabbed during quarantine to verify his status.

Another two – cases 43539 and 43637 – were detected due to surveillance of persons working at dormitories or deployed to frontline COVID-19 operations, even though they are asymptomatic.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for the remaining case 43691.

Both work permit holders – cases 43540 and 43638 – are asymptomatic, and had been swabbed as part of screening of workers in essential services or those working at dorms.

“Besides the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, we also conducted serological tests to determine if some of these cases are current or past infections. The serological test results for Cases 43539 and 43540 have come back positive, which indicate likely past infections,” said the MOH.

“The test results for the remaining cases are pending.”

Four of the community cases have been classified as local unlinked infections, part of the three per cent, of new cases on Monday, to have no established links.

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

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from an average of two cases per day in the week before, to an average of four per day.

“We announced on 28 June that a student at East Spring Secondary School had tested positive for COVID-19,” added the MOH.

As a precaution, 39 students and 11 staff who had been in close contact with the student have been put on leave of absence by the Ministry of Education or home quarantine order by the MOH. They have been tested for COVID- 19, and their test results have all come back negative.

The ministry also added more venues to a list of public places visited by confirmed COVID-19 cases, including Causeway Point and a durian shop in Geylang.

Dorms cleared of COVID-19

Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,790 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with over 2,000 cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with over 1,800 cases, Cassia @ Penjuru and Tuas View Dormitory with over 1,400 cases each.

These dorms, the top five clusters with the highest number of cases here, account for over 20 per cent of the total 41,206 infected workers living in dorms. Some 400,000 such workers live in such residences here.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said last 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 87% have fully recovered

With 477 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Monday, 37,985 cases – some 87 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 197 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while at least one is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 5,453 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, 12 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. Two deaths were attributed to multiple injuries consistent with those resulting from a fall from height.

“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 22 June, the ministry has conducted 684,359 swab tests, of which 376,749 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 120,100 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 66,100 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.

Singapore’s General Election will take place on 10 July during this phase.

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