Hidden Covid-19 cases in S'pore community 'very concerning': Lawrence Wong

The Ministry of Social and Family Development said on June 2 that 27 people at MINDSville@Napiri Adult Disability Home had tested positive for Covid-19. ST PHOTO: TIMOTHY DAVID

SINGAPORE - The "hidden" Covid-19 cases that continue to circulate within the community remain a cause for concern, said Finance Minister Lawrence Wong on Thursday (June 3), adding that the recent coronavirus outbreak in a home for intellectually disabled adults is a "stark reminder" of this fact.

"We are dealing with a very infectious and highly contagious strain of the virus, which is capable of spreading much faster than anything we've had to deal with before and causing large clusters to break out easily," Mr Wong said in a video message on Facebook.

"So we really need to take the precautions and safeguards very seriously."

He was giving an update after a closed-door multi-ministry task force meeting on Thursday morning.

"We've been monitoring the situation carefully and considering what are some of the next steps we might take," added Mr Wong, who co-chairs the task force.

"We are very concerned about the hidden or cryptic cases that are still out there in the community."

The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said on Wednesday night that 27 people - 23 residents and four staff members at MINDSville @ Napiri Adult Disability Home in Hougang - had tested positive for Covid-19.

None of the residents had left the home since May 7, except for medical appointments, while staff living in the home had been allowed to leave only for essential purposes. It is not yet clear how many staff members were living there.

Of the 225 residents and staff, 91 per cent were vaccinated in February and March, MSF said. All have since been tested for the virus, with 23 of the 27 cases found to be asymptomatic.

The home has since stopped the admission and discharge of residents, prohibited all visitors, and completed a thorough cleaning and disinfection of its premises.

In his video message, Mr Wong reiterated his appeal to all Singaporeans to stay home as much as possible and see a doctor to get tested should they feel unwell.

The Government will continue to ramp up testing and speed up its nationwide vaccination programme, he said, adding that people should get vaccinated as soon as they can.

"As our vaccination rates continue to rise, we will have greater confidence in reopening and resuming activities safely."

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