COVID-19: Singapore confirms 42 new cases, new cluster at Yishun bridal studio

SINGAPORE - MARCH 28: Shoppers wearing protective mask queue to enter a shopping mall with a social distancing markers in place on March 28, 2020 in Singapore. Singapore government introduced a supplementary budget on March 26 with measures worth S$48 billion to support Singaporeans and businesses to cope with the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday (29 March) announced 42 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country’s total to 844.

The city-state’s single-day high of 73 cases was reported on Wednesday.

Of the new cases, 24 are imported and 18 are local cases who have no recent travel history abroad:

  • the 24 imported cases had travel history to Europe, North America, the Middle East, ASEAN and other parts of Asia.

  • eight cases are linked to previous cases.

  • 10 cases are currently unlinked, and contact tracing is ongoing.

The ages for the 42 new cases ranged from 12 to 69 years old.

There is also a new cluster at The Wedding Brocade (1 Yishun Industrial Street 1) – cases 745, 802 and 810 are linked to it.

Contact tracing is underway for 71 locally transmitted cases to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions.

There were 14 COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 212 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged.

Of the 423 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. There are 19 in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Three have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, with the latest fatality – a 70-year-old Singaporean man – succumbing to it on Sunday at 12.12pm.

There are 206 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19, and they are isolated and cared for at Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC.

Case 741: Sengkang General Hospital nurse

Case 741 (announced on Saturday), a 42-year-old permanent resident, works as a nurse at Sengkang General Hospital.

She reported onset of symptoms on 24 March, and subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on 27 March afternoon. She is currently warded in an isolation room at Sengkang General Hospital (SKH).

She has no travel history to affected countries or regions. Contact tracing is ongoing.

In response to media queries, SKH CEO Christopher Cheng said that the nurse was working on the night shift which began on 24 March, prior to seeking medical attention at the hospital’s emergency department.

“She had been wearing a mask, in compliance with the hospital’s precautionary infection measures, while at work,” said Prof Cheng.

“She had developed symptoms close to midnight on 24 March and had continued with her shift until 25 March morning. She presented at our ED on the same day. “

Colleagues and patients who were in contact with her had been updated immediately and their health is being monitored, he added.

“We have taken the necessary measures to mitigate the risk of spread, which includes disinfecting the relevant areas,” Prof Cheng said.


More than 4,000 quarantined, 38,000 serving stay-home notices

As of Sunday noon, the MOH has identified 11,779 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 4,178 are currently quarantined, and 7,601 have completed their quarantine.

On Wednesday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said in Parliament that 38,000 people in Singapore are currently serving the mandatory 14-day stay-home notices, with the figure expected to rise with more returning here.

Cases will similarly continue to rise, as some of around 200,000 overseas Singaporeans return home, said Health Minister and COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Gan Kim Yong on the same day.

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.

Wong, who is also the taskforce co-chair, had described Singapore’s situation as being in a “critical phase” in its fight against the virus and noted the possibility for the introduction of more drastic measures as cases continue to rise.

These would include the suspension of schools and closure of some workplaces, aside from those providing essential services.

Stricter measures to cap social gatherings

Stricter measures were announced on Tuesday to combat community transmission of the virus, including capping social gatherings to 10 people or less as well as closing all entertainment venues – including bars, clubs and cinemas – from 11.59pm on Thursday till end-April, or longer.

Patients who flout their five-day medical leave can face steep penalties such as a fine of up to $10,000, according to the MOH’s latest update to the Infectious Diseases Act.

Such 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.

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

The Singapore government will allocate over $48 billion to combat the “unprecedented” COVID-19 crisis, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat in his Ministerial Statement delivered in Parliament on Thursday.

The sum is on top of the $6.4 billion Unity Budget announced by Heng in February that was meant to alleviate the economic impact of the pandemic.

To date, there are over 670,000 COVID-19 cases globally. More than 31,000 have died from the virus, with the death tolls in Spain and Italy accounting for over half of the figure.

Italy is now the country with the highest number of fatalities, followed by Spain which surpassed China’s official count on Wednesday. At over 120,000 cases, the US has overtaken China for the largest number of patients.

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