Coronavirus pandemic

Five new clusters, including several dorms

Majority of the 596 new cases also linked to dorms; two more declared isolation areas

The majority of the Covid-19 cases here are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

Five new clusters of the coronavirus were reported in Singapore yesterday, as another 596 cases were confirmed with hundreds related to foreign worker dormitories.

The new clusters are at Woodlands Lodge I, Changi Lodge II, 51 Paya Ubi Industrial Park, 17 Jalan Besut and Sembawang Shipyard.

Two more purpose-built dormitories, Cassia @ Penjuru with 29 cases and Avery Lodge with 24 cases, have been gazetted as isolation areas.

Of the 596 new cases yesterday, 544 are work permit holders residing in dormitories. Only 25 are Singaporeans or permanent residents. There were no imported cases.

There have been 26 more cases discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 768 have fully recovered and been discharged.

Of the new cases, 68 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.

The number of new cases in the community has fallen to 31 per day in the past week, down from an average of 37 cases a day in the week before. But there are slightly more unlinked cases in the community at an average of 22 per day in the past week, up from 18 cases per day in the week before.

Singapore now has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South-east Asia at 6,588 cases, overtaking Indonesia at 6,575 and the Philippines at 6,259.

In the past week, the Ministry of Health has uncovered links for 528 previously unlinked cases.

Cases in the public healthcare sector include Case 4556, a nurse at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) who has no recent travel history to affected countries or regions. The 32-year-old reported onset of symptoms on April 13, and was confirmed to have Covid-19 on April 17. She is now warded at KTPH.

A five-year-old who attended Little Treasures Childcare in Woodlands also tested positive. The child was last in the centre on April 7, and was quarantined after a family member was found to have contracted the coronavirus on April 13.

The Early Childhood Development Agency has directed that the centre be temporarily closed today and tomorrow. All affected staff and children will be placed on a leave of absence during the closure. Barring any new developments, the centre will resume limited services on Wednesday to cater to parents who are working in essential services and unable to extend alternative care arrangements beyond the closure period.

The centre has conducted a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the premises and is closely monitoring the health of its staff and children who attend the centre.

Of the 2,921 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving, while 22 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. There are 2,888 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for Covid-19. They are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

MOH said that of the work permit holders who have been infected, most are young, have mild illness and are being monitored in community isolation facilities or general wards of hospitals. None is in the intensive care unit.

So far, 11 people have died of complications due to Covid-19 infection.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 20, 2020, with the headline Five new clusters, including several dorms. Subscribe