Singapore coronavirus cases pass 5,000 mark with 623 new patients, mostly foreign workers in dormitories

SJ Dormitory in Woodlands is one of the workers' dormitories linked to new clusters on April 16, 2020. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) has preliminarily confirmed 623 cases of Covid-19 infection in Singapore as of noon on Friday (April 17), with the majority of the cases being foreign workers living in dormitories.

The ministry said it was still working through the details of these new cases and said it would issue further updates later on Friday night.

This brings Singapore's total number of coronavirus cases to 5,050.

The number of people who have died from the virus, 10, remains unchanged, for now.

It is not clear why the ministry decided to release preliminary figures late Friday afternoon as it often announces them later in the evening.

However, there were messages circulating earlier that Singapore had presumably logged the biggest single-day spike of 1,146 on some online platforms.

This is after the new Covid-19 patient figures for Thursday were leaked nearly 10 hours before MOH announced them just after 11pm.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, the ministry said that it had made a police report on the matter and that the police are investigating the leak.

Associate Professor Alex Cook, vice-dean of research at the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said number of cases the country has seen among foreign workers in dormitories in the past two weeks could point to at least 10,000 to 20,000 foreign worker patients as early as the end of April.

Correction note: An earlier version of the report said Singapore now has 5,573 Covid-19 cases. It should be 5,050 cases. We are sorry for the error.

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