Coronavirus: 16 patients in Singapore in ICU, 30 out of 40 new cases are imported

Travellers are seen through arrival gates at the arrival hall of Changi Airport Terminal One in Singapore, on March 19, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - Singapore has confirmed 40 new Covid-19 cases, including 30 that are imported, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Friday (March 20).

This is lower than the 47 new cases that were recorded on Wednesday, the highest number since the start of the outbreak.

Almost all of the imported cases are returning residents and long-term pass holders, and had a travel history to Europe, North America, South-east Asia and other parts of Asia, with the largest number coming from the United Kingdom.

Of the remaining 10 cases announced on Friday which were locally transmitted, seven are linked to previous cases while three are currently unlinked.

This brings the total number of infected patients here to 385. Of these, almost half - 189 - are imported cases.

More stringent social-distancing measures to reduce local transmission of the virus were announced by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Friday as the authorities sought to complement previously introduced border control measures.

The latest local cluster to emerge involved the Masjid Al-Muttaqin in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6, which now has three cases.

In a statement, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (Muis) said it supported the new measures. Mosques have been closed since March 13 for cleaning.

"In preparing for the opening of the mosques on March 27, Muis has already been putting in place enhanced measures such as temperature taking and contact tracing, as well as incorporating social distancing in religious activities at mosques," said Muis.

Seven more cases have been discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of patients who have fully recovered to 131.

Of the 254 patients still in hospital, 16 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

As of noon on Friday, MOH said it has identified 7,065 close contacts who have been quarantined.

Of these, 2,437 are currently quarantined, and 4,628 have completed their quarantine.

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