No Singaporeans among 257 new COVID-19 infections; 1 PR among 4 community cases

·Editorial Team
·5-min read
A man sits at a seating area taped off for safe distancing measure on 18 June, 2020 in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
A man sits at a seating area taped off for safe distancing measure on 18 June, 2020 in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (18 June) confirmed 257 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 41,473, as well as 774 more recoveries.

It also announced an additional cluster of four cases linked to a dormitory at 10 Tech Park Crescent.

Of the new cases, four – a permanent resident and three work permit holders – are identified as community cases. The remaining 253 are foreign workers living in dorms.

The 38-year-old male PR, identified as case 41273, was detected due to the screening of workers in essential services, although he is asymptomatic, said the MOH. The man is classified as a local unlinked case, among the one per cent of new cases on Thursday to have no established links.

All three work permit holders had been identified as contacts of previously confirmed cases, and had already been quarantined at government quarantine facilities. They are a 40-year-old Bangladeshi man, identified as case 41297, a 37-year-old male Indian national, case 41315, and a 31-year-old Bangladeshi man, case 41410.

The men were swabbed during quarantine to verify their status, even though both Bangladeshi men are asymptomatic, said the MOH.

Both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, or swab tests, and serological tests – which can determine if cases are current or past infections, were conducted on the community cases, it added.

The serological test results for the PR, the Indian national and the older Bangladeshi man, came back positive, which indicate likely past infections, said the ministry, adding that the test result for the younger Bangladeshi man is pending.

The MOH said that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from an average of eight cases per day in the week before, to an average of seven per day in the past week.

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from an average of four cases per day in the week before, to an average of three per day in the past week.

Separately, the MOH added an additional entry to the list of places visited by infectious community cases. Mustafa Centre, which has been on the list as a venue on multiple occasions, was visited on 10 June from 8.50pm to 9.45pm.

First published on 25 May, the list – which excludes residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities and public transport – will be updated on a rolling 14-day basis or one incubation period.

The ministry also announced the closure of a cluster at Orange Valley Nursing Home at 6 Simei Street 3 as there have been no more cases linked to it for the past two incubation periods, or 28 days.

Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,761 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 2,044 cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,757 cases, Cassia @ Penjuru with 1,464 cases and Tuas View Dormitory with 1,407 cases.

These dorms, the top five clusters with the highest number of cases here, account for some 24 per cent of the total 39,082 infected workers living in dorms. Some 400,000 such workers live in dorms here.

To date, 132 dorms and 14 blocks of recovered workers in purpose-built dorms have been cleared of COVID-19.


(For more information on the clusters, read
here.)

Some 32,700 have recovered

With 774 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday, 32,712 cases – some 79 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 225 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 8,510 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 26 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 10 others who tested positive for the virus have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another three, including the 44-year-old male Indian national who died on 8 June, whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

“Only cases where the attending doctor or pathologist attributes the primary or underlying cause of death as due to COVID-19 infection will be added to the COVID-19 death count,” said the MOH in previous press releases, adding that the method of assessment is consistent with international practices for classifying deaths.

As of 15 June, the ministry has conducted 576,189 swab tests, of which 340,894 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 101,100 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 59,800 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

Singapore will enter Phase 2 of its reopening – with various safe distancing measures still in place – on Friday. This phase is expected to last up to six months or longer, according to authorities.

With more returning to workplaces, the MOH said on Thursday that it will extend testing to all individuals aged 45 and above who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection from later next week. It will be progressively be extended to more groups, it added.

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