Record 447 new coronavirus cases in Singapore; most linked to dorms

Dormitories continue to make up the vast majority of new cases.
Dormitories continue to make up the vast majority of new cases.ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

New Covid-19 cases in Singapore broke records for the second time in three days, with the Ministry of Health (MOH) announcing 447 new cases yesterday.

The previous daily high was on Monday when there were 386 new cases.

The spike in the past two weeks has largely been driven by an outbreak in foreign worker dormitories, MOH said.

It noted that while the number of local cases in the community has held stable at an average of 36 new cases a day in the past two weeks, the number of cases among work permit holders has ballooned.

MOH said this figure has increased significantly from 48 cases per day two weeks ago to 260 cases per day in the past week, in part due to ongoing efforts to test more workers. The vast majority of these cases involve workers living in dormitories.

Yesterday, they accounted for 404 out of the 447 new cases.

There were three new clusters at dormitories yesterday and new cases at nearly all existing dormitory clusters.

In particular, the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol, Singapore's largest cluster, added another 74 cases, bringing the total to 797. While the bulk of the cases are at large purpose-built dormitories - 17 of the 43 such dorms have clusters - there are now also several cases linked to clusters at smaller factory-converted dormitories.

This takes the number of infected workers linked to dormitories to more than 1,800, about half the 3,699 cases here now.

Outside the dormitories, there were 38 new local cases yesterday and five other cases of work permit holders who do not live in dormitories.

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

No imported cases have been announced since April 10.

 
 
 

Yesterday, the Early Childhood Development Agency said there had been another case involving a pre-school. A member of the teaching staff at Learning Vision @ Work in Lower Kent Ridge Road has tested positive. The staff member was last at the school on April 9.

As a precaution, the school will be closed from today till April 23, and all affected staff and children will be placed on leave of absence. It will reopen on April 24 to serve parents who are working in essential services and unable to find alternative care arrangements.

MOH also said an 80-year-old Malaysian man tested positive for the coronavirus after his death in Singapore on Tuesday, but he died from causes unrelated to Covid-19.

There were 41 more cases discharged, bringing the total number of those who have recovered to 652.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2020, with the headline 'Record 447 new cases; most linked to dorms'. Print Edition | Subscribe