New high of 626 Covid-19 patients discharged; 2 men who died from other causes found to have the virus

Migrant workers living in dormitories form the bulk of the cases. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced 884 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore as of Tuesday noon (May 12), with migrant workers living in dormitories once more forming the majority of cases.

It also announced that 626 patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, a new daily high. This brings the total number of those discharged to 3,851.

Two deaths have been classified as non-Covid-19-related.

A 50-year-old Thai man died from cerebral haemorrhage on Tuesday after suffering respiratory arrest on Sunday. He was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Monday.

A 31-year-old Indian man died on Sunday after he collapsed after complaining of chest pain while at his dormitory. He tested positive for Covid-19 after his death on Monday, which was caused by coronary thrombosis, MOH said.

This brings the number of people who have died from other causes while testing positive for the coronavirus to nine. The number of those who have died due to complications from Covid-19 remains at 21.

MOH said it adds patients to the Covid-19 death count only when the attending doctor or pathologist attributes the primary or underlying cause of death to a Covid-19 infection.

"This is consistent with international practice for classifying deaths," it said, noting that in 2018, 86 male migrant workers aged 25 to 59 died from heart disease in Singapore.

Globally, the outbreak, which began in December last year, has infected more than 4.2 million people. Some 287,000 have died.

MOH said in its evening statement that among the cases were 877 workers in dormitories, three Singaporeans or permanent residents, one work pass holder, and three work permit holders who stay outside dorms.

This takes Singapore's total count to 24,671.

MOH also announced seven new clusters: at 45 Kian Teck Drive, 3 Loyang Way 6, 36 Senoko Road, 7 Senoko South Road, 3 Sungei Kadut Avenue, 46 Tech Park Crescent and 5 Woodlands Industrial Park E1.

Singapore's circuit breaker measures are expected to be eased on June 1 and some businesses like hair salons and traditional Chinese medicine halls opened on Tuesday, although they are subject to various restrictions.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had said earlier this month that three factors will be considered before a decision on easing measures is made. These are whether Singapore has reached "very low" community transmission rates, as well as lower numbers of new patients linked to worker dormitories; the virus situation in other countries; and an increase in the country's testing and contact tracing capacity.

On Tuesday, he said Singapore is on track for restrictions to be eased "in a very calibrated, careful way" on June 1. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said the Government is drawing up a roadmap for the re-opening and said it will make further announcements when it is ready.

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MOH said the daily average number of local cases excluding dormitory residents and other work permit holders have continued to come down, from eight cases two weeks ago to seven in the past week.

The number of such cases that are unlinked has also dipped from a daily average of four to three over the same period.

Many countries are in the process of finding a way to reopen their economies after a period of lockdown.

Schools in the Netherlands partially opened on Monday, while many regions in Spain outside the main cities of Madrid and Barcelona eased regulations for group gatherings.

Shops in Germany have also been progressively allowed to open, with Chancellor Angela Merkel still urging people to continue with physical distancing and wearing masks in public.

The United States remains the country to be worst hit, with more than 1.39 million cases and 82,000 deaths from Covid-19 as of Tuesday.

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