25 new Covid-19 cases in S'pore, including 21 in community and 1 in workers' dorm

Singapore confirms 21 new Covid-19 cases in the community and 1 in a workers' dormitory. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - There were 25 new coronavirus cases as at noon on Sunday (May 23), including 21 in the community and one in a workers' dormitory.

The Ministry of Health (MOH), in its afternoon update, said three of the new local patients are unlinked. Of the other 19 linked local cases, 12 were already in quarantine when they tested positive.

There were three imported cases. They had been placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, and so were already segregated from the community when they were found to have the coronavirus.

Two of them are returning Singaporeans or permanent residents, the MOH said.

The new cases take Singapore's total to 61,824. The country enters its second week of heightened mobility restrictions to contain a resurgence of community spread on Sunday.

The health authority will provide more details on the new cases later in the day.

According to an earlier update from MOH, one of the new community cases is a resident of Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8 who tested positive during a mandatory testing exercise for residents on Friday and Saturday.

The testing exercise for all 116 households in that block at the void deck is the first such operation here, and was begun after some residents of the 12-storey block were found to have Covid-19.

Since then, 10 Covid-19 cases from four different households have been identified in the block. Another 126 test results are pending.

A similar exercise was also announced for the 243 residents of Block 559 Pasir Ris Street 51 on Sunday, although tests will be administered at the regional screening centre at the former Coral Primary School instead of the void deck.

As at Saturday, the number of new cases in the community has increased from 103 two weeks ago to 199 in the past week, with clusters like that at Changi Airport ballooning.

Unlinked cases per week is also up, from 14 two weeks ago to 61 in the past week - a source of worry for the authorities as it could mean a hidden reservoir of undetected cases among the general population.

Some unlinked cases were at Westgate mall in Jurong East recently. Next-door Jem mall had also been visited by people who later tested positive for Covid-19.

Both malls have been shut for two weeks for cleaning and to break any potential chain of transmission.

The number of new cases in the past week has hovered around 20 to 30 per day.

Health Minister Ong Ye Kung has said the Government will have to observe the situation for a few more days "before we know which direction the cases are heading".

The authorities have not ruled out more aggressive curbs to movement if cases continue to go up.

The current suspension of dining in at eateries and the curbing of groups to two people are supposed to continue until June 13, with a review of the measures at the end of May.

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