SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (16 April) reported a record 728 more COVID-19 cases in Singapore – a 62 per cent jump from the previous daily high – taking its total to 4,427.
The ministry also confirmed five new clusters, three of which are linked to foreign worker dormitories: at The Leo dormitory at 23 Kaki Bukit Road 3, SJ Dormitory at 180 Woodlands Industrial Park E5, and Westlite Mandai at 34 Mandai Estate.
The other two new clusters are linked to concrete product supplier Group Industries at 17 Sungei Kadut Street 4 and Grandwork Building at 7 Sungei Kadut Street 3.
The announcement also marks the seventh consecutive day with no imported cases and comes one day after the city-state reported 447 new cases, its previous single-day high.
Of the 728 new cases, 654 are linked to foreign worker dorms. Of the remaining cases, 48 are linked to other local community cases, while 26 are work permit holders not living in dorms.
Almost a fifth, or 19 per cent, of the new cases have no established links, including case 4053, an 89-year-old resident at the Pacific Healthcare Nursing Home at 21 Senja Road.
The Singaporean woman tested positive on Wednesday and is now warded in an isolation room at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.
Contact tracing is ongoing and those who had close contact with the resident will be quarantined, said the Agency for Integrated Care in a separate statement.
On case 3431 reported on Wednesday, the MOH said that she is a 41-year-old Singaporean woman employed as an administrative staff at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
She is the third staff member of the hospital to have tested positive for the virus.
The woman – an unlinked local transmission – had no recent travel history to affected countries or regions and reported developing symptoms on 10 April and tested positive for the virus on 14 April.
She is currently warded at the Sengkang General Hospital. The woman does not have contact with patients in the course of her work and has not been at work since the end of her shift on 8 April, said the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in a Facebook post on Friday.
“To mitigate any risk of infection, we have carried out all necessary precautions including thorough cleaning and disinfection of relevant work areas. Contact tracing is underway and we have promptly informed and updated colleagues who had been in contact with her,” said the hospital.
The MOH also said that it has been monitoring existing clusters for any further transmission.
“As there have been no more cases linked to Masjid Al-Muttaqin and Church of Singapore (Bukit Timah) for the past two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days), the clusters have now been closed,” it added.
(For more details on the breakdown of the clusters, read here.)
(For more on the 728 cases, read here.)
31 more patients discharged; 23 in ICU
The MOH on Thursday also confirmed that 31 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total of recovered cases to 683.
Most of the 1,886 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 23 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from 26 on Wednesday.
A total of 1,848 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.
Another two patients, who tested positive for the virus, have died from causes unrelated to COVID-19.
At least 26 clusters linked to foreign worker dormitories have been identified thus far, including the largest cluster of 979 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol.
As of Wednesday noon, the MOH said it has identified 36,072 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 15,489 are currently quarantined, and 20,583 have completed their quarantine.
In the MOH’s latest daily situation report, 7,400 of 65,600 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 2.1m cases globally
To date, there are over 2.1 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 136,000 have died from the virus, with the US holding the record for the highest global death toll at over 28,000.
At over 640,000 cases, the country also holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Spain at over 182,000 cases, Italy at over 165,000, and France at over 147,000.
China, where the virus originated, has reported over 82,000 cases and more than 3,300 deaths.
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