COVID-19: S'pore confirms 533 new cases, including two S'poreans linked to Jurong Penjuru dorm

A man passes a closed-off mall amid the coronavirus outbreak here on 26 May, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Wednesday (27 May) 533 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 32,876, as well as 832 recoveries.

Of the 533 new cases, 529 are foreign workers living in dormitories, said the ministry, while the four remaining cases are three Singaporeans as well as a male Chinese national who holds a work pass and does not reside in a dorm.

The three Singaporeans, all women, are a 56-year-old local unlinked case as well as a 65-year-old and a 37-year-old linked to the Jurong Penjuru Dormitory, now a cluster of 1,188 cases.

The two linked cases are contacts of a 68-year-old man, identified as case 29563, who went to work at the dorm, and a 46-year-old male Bangladeshi, identified as case 31089. The men are also linked to the cluster at the dorm.

The male Chinese national, 33, has been classified as a local unlinked case. He went to work at 19 Pandan Road, Tuas Terminal Phase 1 and Jurong Port after developing symptoms, the MOH said.

Overall, only one per cent of the new cases have no established links.

The MOH also added three more public places to a list of locations, published from Monday, visited by cases in the community for over 30 minutes. They are the Block 505 market and food centre in Jurong West, Bukit Panjang Plaza, and Hillion Mall.

The list – which excludes residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and public transport – will be updated on a rolling 14-days basis or one incubation period, the ministry said.

As a precautionary measure, it added, “Persons who had been at these locations during the specified timings should monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit.”

They have been urged by the ministry to visit the doctor if they develop symptoms such as cough, sore throat, as well as fever and loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has increased from an average of five cases per day in the week before, to an average of six per day in the past week.

Likewise, the number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from an average of one case per day in the week before, to an average of two per day in the past week.

“This is partly due to our active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, which have picked up more cases in the past week. We will continue to closely monitor these numbers, as well as the cases detected through our surveillance programme,” it added.

The ministry also announced one additional cluster of five cases linked to a foreign worker dormitory at 38 Tuas View Square.

Dozens of clusters linked to such dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,683 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 1,961 cases, Tuas View Dormitory linked to 1,335 cases as well as Jurong Penjuru Dormitory.

They are among the 25 dorms that have been gazetted as isolation areas and account for over 23 per cent of 30,623 infected foreign workers across all dorms. Some 400,000 such workers live in dorms here in Singapore.

Some 20,000 infected workers are expected to be discharged by the end of this month, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong at a press conference on 12 May.

(For more details on the different clusters, read here.)

Over 17,200 discharged in total

With 832 more cases of COVID-19 infection discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, a total of 17,276 cases – more than half of the total infections here – here have fully recovered from the infection, said the MOH on Wednesday.

Most of the 525 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while seven are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from eight on Tuesday.

A total of 15,052 cases with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 23 patients who have died from COVID-19 complicationsnine others who tested positive for the virus have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and two 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.

It had also noted that 86 male foreign workers aged 25 to 59 died due to heart disease in Singapore in 2018.

As of 25 May, the ministry has conducted 334,691 swab tests, of which 218,996 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 58,700 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 38,400 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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