COVID-19: Singapore confirms 32 new cases – all 24 imported S'pore residents, long-term pass holders

Commuters wearing face masks as a preventive measure against COVID-19 look at their mobile phones on the MRT on 18 March, 2020. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)
Commuters wearing face masks as a preventive measure against COVID-19 look at their mobile phones on the MRT on 18 March, 2020. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (19 March) confirmed 32 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 345.

This is the second-highest number of cases reported in a day, after Wednesday’s 47.

The ages of the 32 cases ranged from 20 to 67. Of these, 24 – all returning Singapore residents and long-term pass holders – are imported cases with travel history to Europe, North America, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. Of the 24 imported cases, 13 had travel history to the UK.

Of the remaining new cases, one is a fifth case linked to the cluster at rock climbing gym Boulder+ and had travel history to the UK, while the other is linked to previous cases. Six currently have no established links.


Separately, the ministry said that seven more cases have been discharged from hospital. They are:

  1. Case 97: 44-year-old female Singapore PR linked to Wizlearn Technologies

  2. Case 104: 25-year-old female Myanmar domestic worker linked to Wizlearn Technologies

  3. Case 105: 49-year-old Singaporean man linked to Wizlearn Technologies

  4. Case 121: 54-year-old Singaporean woman linked to SAFRA Jurong private dinner function

  5. Case 125: 65-year-old Singaporean woman linked to SAFRA Jurong private dinner function

  6. Case 134: 56-year-old Singaporean woman linked to SAFRA Jurong private dinner function

  7. Case 136: 36-year-old Italian man, who holds a Singapore work pass, who travelled to US, Italy

In all, 124 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospital, about 36 per cent of the total number of cases.

Most of the remaining 221 hospitalised patients are stable or improving, while 15 remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

The MOH also said that contact tracing is underway for 23 locally transmitted cases to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions.

Based on daily figures released by the ministry, there are over 180 local transmissions and around 160 imported cases.

As of Thursday noon, the MOH has identified 6,574 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 2,273 are currently quarantined, and 4,301 have completed their quarantine.


Enhanced border control measures

The MOH reiterated its advice for Singaporeans to defer all travel abroad immediately. On Wednesday, the COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce announced that all travellers entering Singapore must serve the 14-day stay-home notice from 11.59pm on Friday.

All short-term visitors are required to provide proof of the place where they will serve their notice, which bars them from leaving the premises during the period.

In addition, those who are ASEAN nationals – from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – must submit requisite health information for approval before travelling here.

Similarly, all new and existing work pass holders – including their dependants – planning to enter or return to Singapore from any country will have to obtain the Ministry of Manpower's approval before commencing their journey.

“Even with these controls, we have to be mentally prepared for the number of imported cases to increase, because more Singaporeans want to come back – students, people working overseas,” National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is the taskforce’s co-chair, said at a doorstop on Wednesday

“But at least with the new measures, we can ensure that all arrivals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, and we will enforce this strictly.”

However, he also called on for those who have been away before the expanded stay-home measure kicks in to "to self-isolate, at least for a few days, but the full 14 days if possible".

Short-term visitors with recent travel history to mainland China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Spain remain banned from entering Singapore.

Any traveller exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever will continue to be subjected to a nasal swab test for the coronavirus across all checkpoints.

As of Thursday, there are over 225,00 COVID-19 cases globally, Over 9,000 have succumbed to the virus, the majority of them in China and Italy.

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