SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 47 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday (Mar 31), bringing the total number to 926.
Of the cases confirmed on Tuesday, 31 are local cases with 13 linked to existing clusters or other individuals. Eighteen remain unlinked with contact tracing ongoing.
Four of the newly confirmed cases were linked to a previous case, forming a new cluster at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory at 18 Toh Guan Road East, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release.
One new case is linked to the SingPost Centre cluster, bringing the total number in that cluster to six.
Case 918 is a resident at Lee Ah Mooi (LAM) Old Age Home at 1 Thomson Lane. The 86-year-old woman is unlinked to any cases at the moment.
She tested positive for COVID-19 on Mar 31 and is now in an isolation room at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
“LAM has conducted a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the ward and the affected areas of the Home,” said the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) in a media statement, adding that families of other residents have been informed, and the home is monitoring the health of all residents and staff.
“MOH and AIC have worked with LAM to identify staff and residents who had close contact with the resident,” said the statement.
“Affected staff will be placed under quarantine, and will not be able to care for residents during their quarantine. We are also working with LAM to ensure continuity of service and the wellbeing of the residents.”
The home has also suspended visits until Apr 30.
MOH said on Tuesday that contact tracing is under way for 93 locally transmitted cases to establish links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or region.
Sixteen cases are imported, including eight that had travelled to the United Kingdom. The rest of the imported cases had travelled to Australia, Canada, Denmark and Indonesia. One long-term pass holder had travelled to Malaysia.
All but one of the new cases are Singaporeans or permanent residents.
A total of 240 cases have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation services. Meanwhile, 260 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for the virus are isolated and cared for at Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC.
Of the 423 patients who are still in hospital, 22 are critically ill in the intensive care unit, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong. A total of 208 patients have been discharged from acute care and 295 have been transferred to “step-down facilities”, he added.
Three have died due to complications from COVID-19.
CHANGI GENERAL HOSPITAL CASE
Case 891, a housekeeper employed at Changi General Hospital (CGH), was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday. The 22-year-old man is a Indian national with a Long Term Pass with no recent travel history.
He reported an onset of symptoms on Mar 29 and subsequent tests results confirmed he was infected. He is currently warded in an isolation room at CGH.
He had gone to work for two hours on Monday prior to admission.
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Mr Gan gave this update at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak.
He stressed the importance of taking safe distancing measures seriously, noting that the number of locally transmitted and unlinked cases is increasing. On average, there are 25 locally transmitted cases a day.
“I’m concerned that many more still have not heeded our advice and have carried on with social activities such as shopping, participating in social gatherings, as well as congregating in groups,” Mr Gan said.
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Tuesday’s press conference was held virtually on video conferencing.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force with Mr Gan, said that Singapore’s focus is now on the locally transmitted cases, particularly on the number of unlinked cases, as the number of imported cases from overseas is beginning to taper off.
When asked why Singapore is not locked down amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Mr Wong said there is “no such magic solution as (a) two-week lockdown and then we are free from the virus”.
Instead, Singapore’s strategy is to implement “extra brakes” on top of baseline measures.
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Authorities had last week announced that gatherings outside school and work will be limited to a maximum of 10 people until Apr 30 this year. The duration of the stricter measures may be extended if the situation here does not improve.
All centre-based tuition and enrichment classes have been suspended, along with all religious services and congregations.