SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (15 April) reported a record 447 more COVID-19 cases in Singapore and four new clusters, taking its total to 3,699.
Three of the four new clusters are linked to foreign worker dormitories: 10 Kian Teck Crescent dormitory, Kian Teck Dormitory at 26 Kian Teck Avenue, and Mandai Lodge at 460 Mandai Road. The fourth new cluster is linked to 234 Balestier Road.
The ages of the 447 new cases range from seven to 87 years old. Of them, 409 are work permit holders with all but five residing in foreign worker dorms.
“The number of new cases among work permit holders has increased significantly, from an average of 48 cases per day in the week before, to 260 cases per day in the past week, especially with our ongoing efforts to undertake more active testing of the workers,” said the ministry.
About 68 per cent of the new cases are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.
A total of 38 others are linked to previous cases. “In the past two weeks, the number of new cases in the community has remained stable, with an average of 36 cases per day,” said the MOH.
Separately, an 80-year-old Malaysian man, identified as no. 3381 and one of 447 new cases, died on Tuesday from causes unrelated to COVID-19.
The ministry said the man had been tested for the virus after his demise under the MOH’s enhanced surveillance, and his results came back positive.
Last Wednesday, a 32-year-old male Indian national, who held a Singapore long-term pass, died while awaiting test results for the virus. While his results came back positive, the man had died from ischaemic heart disease and not complications from COVID-19, the ministry said then.
(For more details on the breakdown of the clusters, read here.)
(For more on the 447 cases, read here.)
41 more patients discharged, 26 in ICU
The MOH on Wednesday confirmed that 41 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total of recovered cases to 652.
Most of the 1,496 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 26 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from 28 on Tuesday.
A total of 1,540 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19 are isolated and cared for at community facilities.
Ten have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, including a 70-year-old Singaporean man on Tuesday.
Wednesday’s cluster additions mean at least 23 of them linked to foreign worker dormitories have been identified thus far, including the largest cluster of 797 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol.
As of Tuesday noon, the MOH said it has identified 30,646 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 12,797 are currently quarantined, and 17,849 have completed their quarantine.
In the MOH’s latest daily situation report, 7,700 of 65,300 issued stay-home notices remain active.
Measures to combat spread of coronavirus
The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act, passed in Parliament last Tuesday, gives authorities the power to ban events and gatherings, or impose conditions on how they are conducted, during the “circuit breaker” period from 7 April to 4 May.
Those caught flouting the enhanced safe distancing measures for the first time will be given a composition fine of $300, and a $1,000 fine for the second time.
Egregious cases will be prosecuted in court. A first-time offender who is prosecuted under the Act can face a maximum fine of $10,000, or a jail term of up to six months, or both. A second-time or subsequent offender can face a maximum fine of $20,000, or a jail term of up to a year, or both.
On Tuesday, authorities said that mask-wearing while going out would be mandatory and offenders will face similar penalties. Exceptions to the rule include children under the age of 2, individuals who are excused from wearing masks on medical grounds, and those doing strenuous exercise.
People who flout their five-day medical leave or stay-home notices are also subjected to similar penalties.
Part of the “circuit breaker” measures – announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 3 April – include the closure of schools and most workplaces. Only essential services like food establishments, markets and supermarkets, transport, and key banking services will remain open during the month-long closure.
In a Good Friday address last week, Lee reiterated his call for Singaporeans to stay home, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in foreign worker dormitories as well as in the general population.
Over the weekend, the authorities issued a slew of measures, including the closure of beaches, facilities in parks and gardens and playfields.
Stadiums have also been closed, while parents are not allowed to drop off their children with grandparents on a daily basis.
Separately, 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.
Last Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced an additional $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget to help businesses, workers and households.
The government’s response to COVID-19 will total $59.9 billion, or about 12 per cent of Singapore’s gross domestic product.
Over 2m cases globally
To date, there are over 2 million COVID-19 cases globally – it took 83 days to reach the first million cases worldwide and just 14 days for the second million.
Some 129,000 have died from the virus, with the US holding the record for the highest global death toll at over 26,000.
At over 600,000 cases, the country also holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Spain at over 177,000 cases, Italy at over 162,000, and France at over 143,000.
China, where the virus originated, has reported over 82,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths.
Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore