COVID-19: 278 new infections; all 4 community cases linked to Bukit Panjang transport hub

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
SINGAPORE - JUNE 08:  Students wearing protective masks commute to school by bus on June 8, 2020 in Singapore. The authority decided to remove all safe distancing stickers and markers from trains and buses as they deemed it is too challenging for commuters to keep their social distance. From June 2, Singapore embarked on phase one of a three phase approach against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as it began to ease the partial lockdown measures by allowing the safe re-opening of economic activities which do not pose high risk of transmission. This include the resumption of selected health services, re-opening of schools with school children attending schools on rotational basis, manufacturing and production facilities, construction sites that adhere to safety measures, finance and information services that do not require interactions and places of worship, amongst others. Retail outlets, social and entertainment activities will remain closed and dining in at food and beverage outlets will still be disallowed. The government will further ease restriction by the middle of June if the infection rate within the community remains low over the next two weeks.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
Students wearing protective face masks commute to school by bus in Singapore on 8 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 278 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Thursday (30 July), taking the country’s total to 51,809.

Of them, four – including one Singaporean – are classified as community cases, all of whom are linked to the cluster at Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub which now has a total of eight cases.

Four are imported cases, while the remaining 270 are foreign workers living in dormitories. Overall, only one per cent of new cases have no established links.

The four community cases linked to Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub are asymptomatic and were detected as part of proactive case finding of individuals working at a newly emergent workplace cluster, said the MOH.

“To determine if these cases are current or past infections, we also conducted serological tests for them, and the results for all four cases have come back positive, which indicate likely past infections,” said the MOH.

The ministry also said it is working with the Land Transport Authority to arrange for close contacts of these cases to be tested as a precautionary measure and that epidemiological investigations are ongoing.

Amongst the four imported cases, three – cases 51725, 51829, and 51830 – are work pass holders who are currently employed in Singapore, and had arrived from India between 15 July and 18 July.

The remaining case (51889) is a work permit holder who arrived from Indonesia on 18 July.

“All of them had been placed on 14-day stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving their notice at dedicated facilities,” said the MOH.

The ministry also added a handful of public venues to a list of places visited by community cases while infectious, including Mr Teh Tarik deli at the Bukit Panjang Integrated Transport Hub, the FairPrice and Watsons outlets at Hillion Mall, as well as myCK at 478 Tampines Street 44.

In a separate press release on Wednesday, the Ministry of Manpower announced that 95 more dorms have been cleared of COVID-19 as of the same day. These comprise one purpose-built dorm (PBD), 78 factory-converted dorms, and 16 construction temporary quarters.

In addition, 12 blocks for recovered workers (BRWs) in six PBDs have been cleared. Of the 12 BRWs cleared, one is from Kian Teck Hostel. With this, the entire Kian Teck Hostel has been declared cleared of COVID-19.

This takes the total number to 975 dorms and 64 BRWs in 17 PBDs cleared of COVID-19. As of Tuesday, about 262,000 workers – approximately 85 per cent – have either recovered or have been tested to be free from the virus.

Authorities here expect to clear all dorms and workers residing in them by 7 August, with the exception of 17 standalone blocks in eight purpose-built dorms, which serve as quarantine facilities as well as 28,000 workers still serving out their isolation period.

Of Singapore’s total tally, 48,935 – or 94.4 per cent – are foreign workers living in dorms.

Over 46,300 recovered, zero in ICU

With 210 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday, 46,308 cases – some 89.4 per cent of the tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 148 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while none are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 5,326 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 27 July, the ministry has conducted 1,321,094 swab tests, of which 616,310 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 231,800 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 108,100 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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