Number of Covid-19 cases in community could increase as active testing is stepped up

Those to be tested include healthcare workers who have interacted with confirmed Covid-19 cases.
Those to be tested include healthcare workers who have interacted with confirmed Covid-19 cases.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The number of Covid-19 cases in the community could increase as the authorities step up active screening for the disease, such as among workers in essential services and seniors.

"As we step up our screening and testing... we are likely to see more cases being detected which otherwise would not have been detected," said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, at a virtual press conference on Tuesday (April 28).

"So I think we need to be prepared to see more cases emerging from these institutions as we prepare to do proactive testing for them."

For example, the 14 additional cases at the new Acacia Home cluster in Admiralty reported on Monday was due to "comprehensive screening" conducted at the home, Mr Gan said.

The Ministry of Health said on Monday that it would step up testing for workers in essential services, especially those working with people vulnerable to Covid-19.

They include healthcare workers and also front-line officers who have interacted with confirmed Covid-19 cases.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the inter-agency Covid-19 task force with Mr Gan, said it is difficult to pin down the exact rate of infection, which could be higher than reported.

"Today's infection rate we are seeing in the general population may be lower than the actual infection rate, because as we said, there may be unlinked cases, hidden cases, very mild cases where people think it is just a normal cough or flu and then they recover.

"This is true everywhere in the world, so we know what we know from today's data but we can only know better if we do more extensive testing, which is what we hope to do."