SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday (12 April) confirmed 233 new COVID-19 cases – marking the third day running with zero imported cases – and seven new clusters, bringing the total to 2,532 here.
It was also the second single-day highest figure reported thus far, following Thursday’s confirmation of 287 cases.
The seven new clusters, a handful of which are foreign worker dormitories, are linked to Acacia Lodge, Tuas View Dormitory, 36 Woodlands Industrial Park E1, 85 Kallang Dormitory, burger joint Black Tap at the Marina Bay Sands, a Kenyon-UBS construction site at 9 Penang Road as well as McDonald’s outlets at Forum, Lido and Parklane.
Of the 233 new local transmissions, 167 have no established links – over 84 per cent, or 141, are work permit holders, mostly residing in dormitories, worksites and other living quarters.
51 are linked to clusters while 15 are linked to other cases.
Separately, 32 more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total of recovered patients to 560.
Most of the 976 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while 31 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. A total of 988 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19 are isolated and cared for at community facilities.
Eight have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection, including a 90-year-old Singaporean man who succumbed to the disease on Saturday.
National Development and COVID-19 multi-ministry taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong commented on Facebook on Sunday about the latest MOH data, noting that “the number of work permit and dormitory-related cases has increased sharply, and this is likely to continue going up, especially as we undertake more aggressive testing of workers at the dormitories”.
On the other hand, while the number of imported cases rose around mid-March due to a large number of returnees then, it has since come down to zero, he added.
“The number of cases in the community increased following the wave of imported cases. But there has been some moderation in recent days, in light of the safe distancing measures that have been put in place,” Wong said.
“We will only see the full effects of the circuit breaker in the next one to two weeks. So let's press on with our efforts to stay home, minimise contact with others, and break the transmission chain in our community.”
At least 17 clusters linked to foreign worker dormitories have been identified thus far, including the S11 Dormitory@Punggol which is linked to 365 cases – the largest of its kind.
Eight such dorms have been gazetted as isolation areas, including the newly-confirmed cluster at Acacia Lodge and Cochrane Lodge II.
Earlier on Sunday, McDonald’s Singapore confirmed that five employees tested positive for the virus. They worked at outlets at LIDO, Forum Galleria, Parklane, and Geylang East Central.
As of Sunday noon, the MOH has identified 28,140 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 12,088 are currently quarantined, and 16,052 have completed their quarantine.
As of 7 April noon, 72,680 swab tests have been carried out, of which 47,486 of them involved unique individuals. (For more details on the clusters, read here.)
Measures to combat spread of coronavirus
The COVID-19 Temporary Measures Act, passed in Parliament on Tuesday, gives authorities the power to ban events and gatherings, or impose conditions on how they are conducted, during the “circuit breaker” period lasting till 4 May.
Those caught flouting the enhanced safe distancing measures will be given a composition fine of $300.
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.
People who flout their five-day medical leave or stay-home notices and do not wear masks if they have to leave their place of accommodation to seek emergency medical treatment are also subjected to similar penalties.
Part of the “circuit breaker” measures – announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last Friday – 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, 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.
Wearing masks was also made compulsory for commuters on public transport, as well as while those visiting supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, and shopping malls.
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.
On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat 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.
Over 1.8m cases globally
To date, there are over 1.8 million COVID-19 cases globally. More than 110,000 have died from the virus, with the US holding the record for the highest global death toll at over 20,000.
At over half a million cases, the country also holds the record of having the largest number of patients globally, followed by Spain at over 166,000 cases, Italy at over 152,000, followed by France at over 129,000.
China, where the virus originated, has over 82,000 cases and earlier this week reported no new coronavirus deaths for the first time since it started publishing figures in January.
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