233 new coronavirus cases; seven new clusters found

Burger joint at MBS, McDonald's outlets among new clusters; zero imported cases

A passer-by reading the closed-for-cleaning sign at the McDonald's outlet in Geylang East Central yesterday. It was among the four outlets where five employees were diagnosed with Covid-19. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
A passer-by reading the closed-for-cleaning sign at the McDonald's outlet in Geylang East Central yesterday. It was among the four outlets where five employees were diagnosed with Covid-19. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Singapore reported 233 new cases of Covid-19 infection yesterday, as well as seven new clusters, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

While the number of cases in the community has increased following a wave of imported cases, there has been some moderation in recent days, in the light of the safe distancing measures that have been put in place, the ministry added.

The number of imported cases rose in the middle of last month due to the large number of returnees, but has since come down to zero.

Among the new cases reported yesterday, 51 were linked to known clusters, 15 were linked to other cases and 167 were pending contact tracing.

Of the 167 cases, 141 were work permit holders who are mostly residing in dormitories, work sites and other living quarters, said MOH. This brings the total number of virus cases here to 2,532.

The seven new clusters were Acacia Lodge, Tuas View Dormitory, 36 Woodlands Industrial Park E1, Kallang Dormitory, Black Tap burger joint at Marina Bay Sands, a construction site at 9 Penang Road, and the McDonald's outlets at Forum Galleria, Lido and Parklane.

Five employees of McDonald's who worked at the Lido, Forum Galleria, Parklane and Geylang East Central outlets were diagnosed with Covid-19, the fast-food chain said earlier yesterday.

They have since been quarantined in medical facilities, and all other employees who have worked at the affected branches have been told to isolate themselves with a 14-day leave of absence. The four restaurants have been cleaned and are closed for business until further notice.

Clusters at foreign worker dormitories continued to grow. For instance, 30 more cases were linked to S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, which now has 365 cases.

Westlite Toh Guan dormitory has seven more cases linked to it, making a total of 76 confirmed cases. Seventeen more were linked to the dormitory at Sungei Tengah Lodge, which has a total of 80 cases now.

In a Government Gazette notice yesterday, the Cochrane Lodge II dormitory was declared an isolation area. This will take effect today. It became the eighth foreign worker dormitory to be gazetted as such, along with others like Cochrane Lodge I, Acacia Lodge and Tampines Dormitory.

In a Facebook post after midnight, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong noted that the number of work permit and dormitory-related cases has increased sharply recently.

"This is likely to continue going up, especially as we undertake more aggressive testing of workers at the dormitories," he wrote, adding that there is a comprehensive strategy to take care of foreign workers and contain the virus in dormitories.

He said that while circuit breaker measures are in place to slow down the spread of the virus in the community, its full effects will be seen only in the next one to two weeks.

"So, let's press on with our efforts to stay home, minimise contact with others and break the trans-mission chain in our community," he added.

Of the 976 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving, and 31 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Another 32 patients have also been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing the total who have fully recovered to 560.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 13, 2020, with the headline '233 new cases; seven new clusters found'. Subscribe