SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Wednesday (17 June) 247 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, bringing the total number to 41,216, as well as 775 more recoveries.
Of the new cases, five are classified as cases in the community, including one Singaporean, one permanent resident and three work pass holders. The remaining 242 cases are foreign workers living in dormitories.
Amongst the two Singapore residents, case 41145, a 23-year-old PR, did not exhibit any symptoms and was tested as his work involves interacting with security guards at dorms, said the MOH. He is among the one per cent, of new cases on Wednesday, to have no established links.
A 58-year-old Singaporean woman, identified as case 41152, is a family member of a previously confirmed case, and had already been quarantined earlier. She had been swabbed during quarantine to verify her status, said the ministry.
Amongst the three work permit holders, a 39-year-old Bangladeshi man, case 41030, and a 28-year-old male compatriot, case 41250, had been identified as contacts of previously confirmed cases, the MOH added.
The duo had already been quarantined at government quarantine facilities and had been swabbed during quarantine to verify their status, even though the older man did not exhibit any symptoms, it said.
The third case, a 36-year-old Bangladeshi man identified as case 41144, did not exhibit any symptoms and was tested as part of efforts to screen workers in essential services. He has been classified as a local unlinked case.
Both polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, or swab tests, and serological tests were conducted on the community cases to determine if they are current or past infections, the ministry said.
The serological test result for the 39-year-old Bangladeshi man has come back positive, which indicates likely past infection, while results for the remaining cases are pending.
The ministry added 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 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, Singapore residents who had left Singapore before the issuing of the 27 March travel advisory and will be returning in the near future need not pay for the cost of their COVID-19 tests, if they return and enter Singapore by 31 August.
The ministry said that it will also not automatically swab all persons who are aged 12 or younger before the end of their stay-home notice, as the tests could pose difficulties for young children. However, if any of their close contacts are found to be positive, swab tests will be initiated for them.
“For avoidance of doubt, all travellers, including Singapore citizens and permanent residents, who last left Singapore from 27 March despite the prevailing travel advisory, will have to continue to bear the costs of their stay at dedicated stay-home notice facilities where applicable, as well as the cost of their COVID-19 tests,” it added.
Authorities announced on Monday that all travellers who enter or leave Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday will be required to pay for their COVID-19 tests, where applicable.
In addition, incoming travellers who are not Singapore residents and enter Singapore from 11.59pm on Wednesday will be required to pay for their stay at dedicated stay-home notice facilities, where applicable.
Our Tampines Hub, Siglap V added to list
On Wednesday, the ministry also added four more public places and two additional entries to a list of locations – first published on 25 May – visited by infectious cases in the community for over 30 minutes.
The new places are the Cold Storage outlet in Siglap V, the NTUC Fairprice outlet at Siglap New Market, the Kopitiam outlet at Our Tampines Hub and SF Chandpur Minimart. Date entries for places already on the list were added: Kaki Bukit Recreation and Mustafa Centre.
The list – which excludes residences, workplaces, healthcare facilities, and public transport – will be updated on a rolling 14-day basis or one incubation period.
Dozens of clusters linked to foreign worker dorms have been identified thus far, including Singapore’s largest cluster of 2,758 cases linked to S11 Dormitory@Punggol, followed by Sungei Tengah Lodge with 2,044 cases, Jurong Penjuru Dormitory with 1,733 cases, Cassia @ Penjuru with 1,462 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 38,829 infected workers living in dorms in Singapore.
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 32,000 have recovered
With 775 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 31,938 cases – some 77 per cent of the total tally – have fully recovered from the infection.
Most of the 257 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
A total of 8,995 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.
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