Six community cases among 218 new COVID-19 infections in S'pore; no local residents

Essential workers queue up to have their noses swabbed before returning to the workforce at a regional screening centre amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Singapore on 9 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)
Essential workers queue up to have their noses swabbed before returning to the workforce at a regional screening centre amid the coronavirus disease outbreak in Singapore on 9 June, 2020. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — In its lowest daily reported tally in about two months, the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Tuesday (9 June) 218 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total to 38,514.

There are no Singaporeans or permanent residents among the new cases, a first since 1 June. The latest tally is the lowest since the 191 cases reported on 11 April.

The MOH also confirmed an additional cluster of 34 cases linked to a foreign worker dormitory at 145 Tuas View Square.

Of the 218 new cases, 212 are foreign workers living in dorms, while the remaining six – four work pass and two work permit holders – are classified as community cases.

Amongst the latter, three – cases 38520, 38521, and 38522 – are housemates of a previously confirmed case, and had already been quarantined in government quarantine facilities earlier, said the MOH.

“They are asymptomatic, but we had swabbed them to verify their status during quarantine,” it added. The trio of male Indian nationals are aged between 31 to 34.

The other three cases – no. 38516, 38547, and 38548 – were also asymptomatic and had been picked up during the proactive screening of workers in essential services, including the construction and marine sectors, said the ministry. The three – all classified as local unlinked cases – are a 23-year-old Malaysian woman, a 40-year-old male Indian national, and a 42-year-old Bangladeshi man.

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

The MOH said the number of new cases in the community has increased from an average of four cases per day in the week before, to an average of nine per day in the past week.

Similarly, the number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from an average of two cases per day in the week before to an average of four per day in the past week, due in part to active surveillance and screening of targeted groups, it added.

The ministry also announced the closure of the clusters at the Tanah Merah Coast Road construction site and the dorm at 17C Tuas Road as they have not been linked to any cases 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 2,722 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 2,033 cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,508 cases, and Tuas View Dormitory with 1,402 cases.

The four are among the 25 dorms that have been gazetted as isolation areas. Together, they account for some 21 per cent of the 36,183 total infected foreign workers living in dorms in Singapore.

Some 400,000 such workers live in dorms here, of which about 10 per cent have been cleared of the infection, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo on 1 June during a press conference.

Over 20,000 infected foreign workers have recovered, added Teo.

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

Hougang Green Shopping Mall added to list

On Tuesday, the ministry added one more public place to a list of locations – first published on 25 May – visited by infectious cases in the community for over 30 minutes.

Hougang Green Shopping Mall at 21 Hougang Street 51 was visited on 3 June from 12pm to 1pm.

Those who had been identified as close contacts of confirmed cases would already have been notified, said the MOH.

“There is no need to avoid places where confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been. The National Environment Agency will engage the management of affected premises to provide guidance on cleaning and disinfection,” it added.

As a precautionary measure, the ministry has advised those who had been at these locations during the specified timings to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit.

They have also been urged by the ministry to visit the doctor if they develop symptoms such as cough, sore throat, as well as fever and loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

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

Over 67 per cent discharged, recovered

With 509 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Tuesday, 25,877 cases – 67.2 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 248 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while three are in critical condition in the intensive care unit, down from four on Monday.

A total of 12,364 patients with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

The latest COVID-19 linked fatality – and the youngest by far – in Singapore is a 41-year-old Chinese male national who died last Thursday. The man, identified as case 11714, was confirmed to be infected on 22 April, but had recovered and was discharged on 17 May, said the MOH on Saturday.

“He collapsed on 4 June and the coroner has certified that the cause of death was massive pulmonary thromboembolism following SARS-CoV-2 infection,” it added.

Apart from 25 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, nine others who tested positive for the virus have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and two 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 1 June, the ministry has conducted 408,495 swab tests, of which 264,393 were done on unique individuals. This translates to around 71,700 swabs conducted per 1 million total population, and about 46,400 unique individuals swabbed per 1 million total population.

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