Prison inmate on social visit pass among 142 new COVID-19 infections; no Singapore residents

A retail assistant cleans the shop shutter as a shop is prepares to be opened in Singapore as the city-state reopens the economy amid the coronavirus disease outbreak on 19 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — In its lowest daily reported tally in over two months, the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (19 June) confirmed 142 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 41,615, as well as 747 new recoveries.

There are no Singaporeans or permanent residents among the new cases for the first time since Tuesday. The latest tally is the lowest since the 142 cases reported on 8 April.

The sole community case is a prison inmate on social visit pass, who had arrived in Singapore before the implementation of border measures, said the MOH. The remaining 141 cases are foreign workers living in dorms.

The inmate, a 21-year-old Sri Lankan man, “had been segregated from the general inmate population since his admission to Changi Prison Complex on 6 June, and was tested positive for COVID-19”, the ministry added.

He is classified as a local unlinked case, and is among the three per cent, of new cases on Friday, with no established links.

The ministry said that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from an average of nine cases per day in the week before, to an average of four 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 two per day in the past week.

The ministry also announced two additional clusters linked to foreign worker dorms at 10 Kaki Bukit Road 1, #03-32, and 6 Kian Teck Crescent.

Dozens of clusters linked to such dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,766 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 2,044 cases, cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,771 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 39,223 infected workers living in dorms. Some 400,000 such workers live in dorms here.

As of Monday, about 75,000 workers living in dorms have been cleared of COVID-19 and are staying in cleared premises, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday in a press release.

A forecast of dormitories and blocks to be cleared till August onwards has been published on their website.

“The order of clearance of blocks and dormitories are based on various factors, including the number of recovered workers originally from the dormitory and who have been discharged, the spread of COVID-19 in the dormitory, and inputs from the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) and Economic Development Board,” the MOM added.

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

Over 33,400 have recovered

With 747 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 33,459 cases – or 80.4 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 212 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 7,918 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 entered 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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