COVID-19: Singapore reports 66 new cases, 2 new clusters at dorm and preschool, total 1,375

This picture taken on April 5, 2020 shows people wearing face masks in the Orchard Road shopping district in Singapore. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
People wearing face masks in Orchard Road on 5 April 2020. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Monday (6 April) 66 more coronavirus cases here, bringing the country’s total to 1,375.

Of the 66 new cases, 1 is an imported case while the remaining 65 are local transmissions.

Among the local cases, links have been established to existing clusters for 35 cases. Of these, 24 cases are linked to clusters at foreign worker dormitories and 11 are linked to non-dormitory clusters. Contact tracing is ongoing for the remaining 30 cases.

Among the 66 cases announced on Sunday that were pending contact tracing, investigations have established links for 22 of the cases, and further investigations are ongoing.

Two new clusters

There are two new clusters reported on Monday.

One of the newly confirmed cases (Case 1335) is linked to two previous cases (Cases 1182 and 1294), forming a new cluster at Little Gems Preschool at Ang Mo Kio Street 62.

Three of the earlier confirmed cases (Cases 880, 1190 and 1241) have now been linked to a new cluster at Kranji Lodge at 12 Kranji Road.

Additionally, 25 more cases are now linked to the cluster at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol (2 Seletar North Link), which has a total of 88 confirmed cases currently – this makes it the largest cluster of COVID-19 infection here.

In light of the increase in cases within foreign worker dormitories in recent days, the MOH has gazetted two of the dorms, S11 and Westlite, as social isolation areas with almost 20,000 workers comprising 13,000 at S11 and 6,800 at Westlite under quarantine. This means that residents will have to stay in the dorms in their existing rooms for the next 14 days, from Sunday.

The latest measures were announced at a virtual media conference held by the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19 on Sunday.

Health Minister and co-chair of the taskforce Gan Kim Yong also said the government is looking at preparing the Expo as a possible site for a community care facility to house patients who have recovered but are still infectious. This comes after Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC were designated to isolate and care for such patients.

Cases from public healthcare sector

Case 1322, a patient therapy associate at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH), was confirmed to be infected on 5 April. She is a 27-year-old Singaporean woman with no recent travel history to affected countries or regions.

She reported onset of symptoms on 30 March, and subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on 5 April. She is currently warded in an isolation room at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. She had gone to work at IMH prior to hospital admission.

25 in intensive care

Separately, the ministry announced that 24 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. This means a total of 344 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged.

Of the 571 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving, while 25 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Six have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection in Singapore, with the latest fatality – an 88-year-old male Permanent Resident – succumbing to it early Saturday morning.

As of noon on Monday, MOH has identified 17,613 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 5,618 are currently quarantined, and 11,995 have completed their quarantine.

Measures to combat spread of coronavirus in S’pore

Last Friday, Singapore announced an enhanced set of social distancing measures that includes the closure of schools and most workplaces. Only essential services like food establishments, markets and supermarkets, clinics, hospitals, utilities, transport, and key banking services will remain open from Tuesday (7 April) until 4 May.

Meanwhile, Singapore will no longer discourage the public from wearing face masks.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong called these new measures as “circuit breakers” to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection.

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.

Anyone who flouts the 14-day stay-home notice by leaving the place of accommodation or residence they are serving the notice in will be subjected to steep penalties.

Patients who flout their five-day medical leave can face steep penalties such as a fine of up to $10,000 or a maximum jail term of six months, or both, according to the MOH’s latest updates to the Infectious Diseases Act.

The same 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.

Those on five-day sick leave or serving a stay-home notice must also wear a mask if they have to leave their place of accommodation to seek emergency medical treatment.

The Singapore government would also 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 in Parliament last 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.

On Monday, Heng announced an additional $5.1 billion Solidarity Budget to help businesses 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.

Close to 1.3 million COVID-19 cases globally

To date, there are over 1,290,000 COVID-19 cases globally. Over 71,000 have died from the virus, with Italy and Spain accounting for more than 40 per cent of the total.

At over 339,000 cases, the US now holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Spain at over 135,000 cases, Italy at over 128,000, Germany at over 100,000, and France at over 92,000.

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