SINGAPORE: Singapore on Monday (Mar 23) confirmed 54 new cases of COVID-19, the highest daily increase to date, taking the total to 509 cases.

Of the new cases, 48 are imported infections.

The imported cases had travel history to Europe, North America and ASEAN countries. All except one were returning residents and Long Term Pass holders, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its daily update. 

A total of 34 of the imported cases had travelled to the United Kingdom. 

Three cases had previously been in the United States while five patients had been in Indonesia. 

Six cases are currently unlinked and contact tracing is ongoing. 

Eight more patients have also been discharged, MOH said. 

To date, a total of 152 cases have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospital. Of the 355 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. 

Fifteen are in critical condition in the intensive care unit while two patients have died. 

MOH COVID-19 update table Mar 23

Case 509, a 53-year-old Singaporean man, had been in Indonesia and had been in contact with Case 212, an Indonesian man who had died in Singapore on Saturday. The 64-year-old, who had a history of heart disease, was one of the first two fatalities in the country. 

A 75-year-old Singaporean woman also died of complications due to the virus on Saturday.

ADDITIONAL PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES IN SCHOOLS

Schools reopened on Monday after the March holidays with additional precautionary measures to safeguard students, teachers and other staff members. 

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Sunday that schools remain safe places for children and that the closure of schools will disrupt many lives, especially working parents with limited childcare options with no domestic help.

Among the precautionary measures implemented is the leave of absence or stay-home notice policy as well as checks on travel history at the school gates. 

READ: COVID-19 FAQ: When will a stay-home notice be issued, and what does it mean?

All students who are unwell will be put in an isolation room or sent home. Students will also be seated apart in class, similar to during examinations. 

MOH announced on Sunday that Singapore will not allow short-term visitors to enter or transit through the country in view of the heightened risk of imported COVID-19 cases.

Previously, except for a handful of countries, short-term visitors were allowed to come into Singapore, although they have to serve a 14-day stay-home notice once they entered the country.

The expanded restriction to all short-term visitors will take effect at 11.59pm on Monday.

Only work pass holders providing essential services, such as in healthcare and transport, will be allowed by the Manpower Ministry to enter or return to Singapore. This will include their dependents.

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