COVID-19: S'pore confirms 49 more cases and 3 new clusters including Mustafa Centre, Keppel Shipyard

People queue to buy protective masks at Mustafa Centre on 8 February, 2020. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (2 April) identified 49 more coronavirus cases and three more clusters here, bringing the country’s total to 1,049.

The three new clusters are at Mustafa Centre at 45 Syed Alwi Road, a construction site at Maxwell MRT station at 50 Neil Road as well as Keppel Shipyard at 51 Pioneer Sector 1.

This comes a day after a single-day high report of 74 cases.

The ages of the 49 new cases range from 21 to 76 years old. Of them, eight are imported. 41 are local transmissions, comprising over 80 per cent of the latest cases.

The eight imported cases had travel history to Europe, North America, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and other parts of Asia.

Of the 41 locally-transmitted cases, 15 of them have no established links. The remaining 26 are linked to previous cases or clusters, including:

  • Five linked to six previous cases, forming a new cluster at Mustafa Centre linked to a total of 11 cases

  • Two linked to three previous cases, forming a new cluster at the construction site at Maxwell MRT station linked to a total of five cases

  • One linked to the cluster at Lee Ah Mooi Old Age Home at 1 Thomson Lane, linked to a total of 12 cases

  • Two linked to the cluster at SingPost Centre at 10 Eunos Road 8, linked to a total of eight cases – one contract staff and seven full-time employees

  • Three linked to the cluster at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol at 2 Seletar North Link), linked to a total of 13 cases

  • Two linked to the cluster at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory at 18 Toh Guan Road East, linked to a total of 10 cases

  • One linked to the cluster at live entertainment bar Hero’s at 69 Circular Road, linked to a total of eight cases

  • One linked to the cluster at Fengshan PCF Sparkletots Preschool at 126 Bedok North Street 2, linked to a total of 27 cases – the patient is a family member of case 601, a 47-year-old Singaporean woman as the centre’s principal

Separately, three previously confirmed cases have now been linked to a new cluster at the Keppel Shipyard.

A SingPost spokesperson said that the two new cases linked to its Eunos Road centre are full-time employees working on the fifth level of its mail processing facility, in a staff-only area inaccessible to the public.

They also use a separate staff entrance at the rear of the SingPost building, the spokesperson added.

“The cluster at SingPost began when a contractor reported to work on 19 March while on medical leave. He was subsequently tested positive for COVID-19,” said the spokesperson.

The seven other cases, all full-time employees, tested positive for the virus between 27 March and Wednesday. “Dozens more” were quarantined as a precautionary measure, the spokesperson added.

IMH healthcare attendant among new cases

Case 1028: IMH healthcare attendant

The 26-year-old Singaporean woman, who had been in India from 2 to 18 March, reported developing symptoms on 20 March.

The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) employee tested positive for the virus on Wednesday afternoon and is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

She had not gone to work since onset of symptoms.

Case 963: Contractor working on SKH installation (announced on Wednesday)

The 26-year-old Bangladeshi man, who holds a long-term pass, had not travelled recently to affected countries or regions.

He reported developing symptoms on 28 March, and tested positive for the virus on 31 March afternoon.

The contractor, who was employed to work on the installation of toilet facilities at the Sengkang General Hospital (SKH), is currently warded in an isolation room at the SKH.

Prior to his hospital admission, he had gone to work but had not interacted with patients.

266 discharged, more than 5,200 quarantined

As of Thursday, 21 more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In total, 266 patients have fully recovered and been discharged.

Most of the remaining 464 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 23 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from 24 the day before.

A total of 315 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for the virus are isolated and cared for at Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC.

Four have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, with the latest fatality – a 68-year-old Indonesian man – succumbing to it early Thursday morning.

The MOH also said that contact tracing is underway for 118 local transmissions with no links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions. According to the ministry, 531 cases are imported, of which 54 are visitors.

As of Thursday noon, the MOH has identified 14,952 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 5,261 are currently quarantined, and 9,691 have completed their quarantine

Last Wednesday in Parliament, Health Minister and COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Gan Kim Yong said cases will continue to rise, as some of around 200,000 overseas Singaporeans return home.

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.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is also the taskforce co-chair, had last Wednesday in Parliament described Singapore’s situation as being in a “critical phase” in its fight against the virus.

From this month, all primary schools, secondary schools, junior colleges, and centralised institutes will conduct one day of home-based learning per week, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Stricter measures to cap social gatherings

Stricter measures were announced last 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 last 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 updates to the Infectious Diseases Act.

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 such penalties.

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

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.

The Singapore government would 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 in Parliament last 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 close to one million COVID-19 cases globally. Over 51,000 have died from the virus, with the death tolls in Spain and Italy accounting for almost half of the figure.

At over 235,000 cases, the US now holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Italy at over 115,000, Spain at over 110,000, Germany at more than 84,000 and China at over 81,000.

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