COVID-19: Singapore confirms 70 new cases, 41 imported; total at 802

People walking past Ngee Ann City in Singapore. (PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (28 March) announced 70 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country’s total to 802.

Of the new cases, 41 are imported and 29 are local cases who have no recent travel history abroad:

  • the 41 imported cases had travel history to Europe, North America, ASEAN and other parts of Asia.

  • 15 cases are linked to clusters or previous cases.

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

The ages for the 70 new cases ranged from 1 year old to 71 years old.

Contact tracing is underway for 67 locally transmitted cases to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions.

There were 15 COVID-19 patients who have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 198 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged.

Of the 420 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. There are 19 in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Two have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection.

There are 182 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.

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

Fengshan Sparkletots, Dover Court and SingPost clusters

With one additional confirmed case on Saturday, there are now 26 confirmed cases linked to the PCF Sparkletots Pre-school@Fengshan at Block 126, Bedok North Street 2. Of these, 16 are staff at the pre-school, and 10 are family members of Case 601.

There is also one additional confirmed case at the cluster at Dover Court International School, which has eight confirmed cases. Seven are staff at the school, while the eighth case is a contact of one of the staff.

At the SingPost Centre in Eunos, there were two additional cases confirmed, both of whom work on the same floor as the previously-announced three staff members.

SingPost said in a media statement on Saturday that all five staff members who are confirmed cases worked at the packet-sorting facility, which is a restricted, staff-only area that cannot be accessed by members of public. The staff use a separate staff entrance at the back of the SingPost building and do not pass through the SingPost Centre shopping mall when they enter or leave their workplace.


More than 3k quarantined; 38k serving stay-home notices

As of Saturday noon, the MOH has identified 10,875 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 3,640 are currently quarantined, and 7,235 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 617,000 COVID-19 cases globally. More than 28,000 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 104,000 cases, the US has overtaken China for the largest number of patients.

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