COVID-19: S'pore confirms 1,111 new cases and 3 more clusters, crosses 9,000 mark

·Editorial Team
·6-min read
Foreign workers are seen outside their dormitory rooms on 21 April, 2020, in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Foreign workers are seen outside their dormitory rooms on 21 April, 2020, in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (21 April) confirmed 1,111 new COVID-19 cases and three more clusters, bringing the total to 9,125 – the highest recorded in Southeast Asia.

This comes a day after it confirmed a single-day high of 1,426 new cases.

The three clusters are linked to The Jovell construction site at 27 Flora Drive, Pesko Engineering at 2 Joo Koon Road, where its headquarters and dormitory is, and 5 Sungei Kadut Avenue.

Of the 1,111 new cases, 1,050, or over 94 per cent, are foreign workers living in dormitories, said the ministry.

Due to extensive testing, many more cases are being picked up in dorms, it added. “Most of these cases have a mild illness and are being monitored in the community isolation facilities or general ward of our hospitals. None of them is in the intensive care unit,” said the ministry.

Of the remaining cases, 33 are work permit holders residing outside such dorms while 28 are those in the community, including 20 Singaporeans and permanent residents.

Overall, 34 per cent of the new cases have no established links.

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased, from an average of 39 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 28 per day in the past week.

“The number of unlinked cases in the community has decreased slightly, from an average of 21 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 20 per day in the past week,” it added.

“We will continue to closely monitor these numbers, as well as the cases detected through our surveillance programme.”

Separately, the number of new cases amongst work permit holders residing outside dormitories has continued to increase, from an average of 14 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 26 per day in the past week.

At least 36 clusters linked to foreign worker dormitories have been identified thus far. These include the city-state’s largest cluster of 2,143 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 629 cases.

Both are among the 18 dorms that have been gazetted as isolation areas. Cases linked to the two places of residence account for over 39 per cent of the total 7,127 infected cases living in dorms. Some 300,000 foreign workers live in dorms here in Singapore.

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

39 more patients discharged, 27 in ICU

The MOH on Tuesday said that 39 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community facilities. In all, 839 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged.

Most of the 3,593 hospitalised cases are stable or improving while 27 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, up from 23 on Monday.

A total of 4,682 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19 are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

To date, 11 cases here have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, including a 95-year-old Singaporean man last Friday.

Three patients, who tested positive for the virus, have died from causes unrelated to COVID-19. The latest such fatality was a 40-year-old Malaysian man who died on Saturday after he tested positive for the virus the day before. His cause of death was a heart attack.

As of 14 April, the ministry has conducted 94,796 swab tests, of which 59,737 were done on unique individuals.

Circuit breaker period extended, more shops to suspend operations

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong announced that the end of the circuit breaker period will be extended by four weeks to 1 June, from 4 May as previously planned.

Tighter measures will also be in place during this extension, including entry to certain wet markets on alternate dates based on one’s identification number. Less critical businesses, such as bubble tea shops and those predominantly selling pastries or cakes, will be closed from 11.59pm on Tuesday until at least 4 May.

Authorities have previously progressively closed other venues during the circuit breaker period, including stadiums, beaches, facilities in parks and gardens and playfields.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat also on Tuesday announced that the Solidarity Budget will be boosted by a further $3.8 billion, bringing the government’s total financial assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic to more than $63 billion.

The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act, passed in Parliament on 7 April, gives authorities the power to ban events and gatherings, or impose conditions on how they are conducted, during the circuit breaker period.

Those caught flouting the enhanced safe distancing measures, including compulsory mask-wearing, 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.

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.

Over 2.5m cases globally

To date, there are over 2.5 million COVID-19 cases globally – it took 83 days to reach the first million cases worldwide and just 14 days for the second million.

More than 173,000 have died from the virus, with the US holding the record for the highest global death toll at over 43,000.

At more than 800,000 cases, the country also holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Spain at over 204,000 cases, Italy at over 181,000, and France with over 155,000 cases.

China, where the virus originated, has reported over 82,000 cases and more than 4,600 deaths, after it abruptly readjusted its death toll higher by 50 per cent last Friday.

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COVID-19: Bubble tea shops, other less critical F&B businesses to close during circuit breaker period

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