The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 47 new cases of Covid-19 infection in Singapore, including a new cluster at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory, as of 12pm on Mar. 31, 2020.
This brings the total number of cases in the country to 926.
MOH also announced that 12 more cases of Covid-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities (Cases 222, 242, 248, 262, 290, 298, 318, 401, 462, 570, 766 and 776).
About the new cases
Of these new confirmed cases, 16 are imported and 31 are local cases with no recent travel history abroad.
All of the imported cases are Singaporeans or permanent residents, other than one, who is a long-term visit pass holder with travel history to Malaysia.
Eight of the new cases were returning from the United Kingdom, while the rest were returning from other countries including Australia, Canada, Denmark, and Indonesia.
Out of the 31 new local cases, 13 are linked — five to existing clusters and eight to individuals — while 18 are currently unlinked.
Four of the newly confirmed cases (Cases 922, 924, 925 and 926) are linked to a previous case (Case 875), forming a new cluster at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory (18 Toh Guan Road East).
Westlite Toh Guan is a 7,800-bed worker accommodation with 22 communal facilities.
One additional case is linked to the cluster at SingPost Centre (10 Eunos Road 8), which has a total of six confirmed cases now (Cases 581, 689, 724, 740, 796 and 881).
According to the Singapore Post spokesperson, the additional case is not a postman and does not have contact with members of the public in his course of work.
He primarily works at the mail sorting facility, and his primary duties involve managing team members operating the letter sorting machines.
Contact tracing is underway for 93 locally transmitted cases to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to affected countries or regions.
In the past week, MOH has uncovered links for 33 previously unlinked cases.
Housekeeper at Changi General Hospital infected
Case 891 is a 22-year-old male Indian national who is a long term pass holder with no recent travel history.
He reported onset of symptoms on Mar. 29, and subsequent test results confirmed Covid-19 infection on Mar. 30 afternoon.
He is currently warded in an isolation room at Changi General Hospital (CGH).
He is employed as a housekeeper at CGH. Prior to hospital admission, he had gone to work for about two hours on Mar. 30.
Here are the details of the 47 new cases announced on Tuesday:
Update on previously-confirmed cases
To date, a total of 240 people have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities.
Of the 423 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving.
22 cases — a new high since the beginning of the outbreak — are critically ill and being cared for in the intensive care unit (ICU)
260 cases who are clinically well but still test positive for Covid-19 are isolated and cared for at Concord International Hospital, Mount Elizabeth Hospital, Gleneagles Hospital and the Community Isolation Facility at D’Resort NTUC.
Three have passed away from complications due to Covid-19 infection.
As of Mar. 31 at 12pm, MOH has identified 13,452 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 4,713 are currently quarantined, and 8,739 have completed their quarantine.
Safe distancing important
At the press conference on Tuesday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong stressed the importance of safe distancing.
"As the virus spreads across the world, there is now strong evidence that safe distancing is a very important measure to stop and slow down the transmission.
And that's why today, even our press conference is practising safe distancing by having a video connection instead of a physical press conference".
The Ministry of Health (MOH)'s Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak said MOH has noticed patterns in the local linked cases announced so far. Many were connected by activity, including social gatherings, living together, working together, and other social activities including singing classes.
"This reinforces, therefore, the importance of our social measures to enhance physical distancing and safe separation", he added.
He called for people who are sick to avoid going back to work or to engage in social activities that put them in close contact with others.
Instead, he said, they should go see a doctor as soon as possible, and to respect the doctor's medical certificate (MC) by not going out and continuing with their social activities and work during the period of the MC.
(By the way, it is a criminal offence to leave the house when you are on MC now.)
Mak referenced the unlinked cases, attributing many of them to people who have been exposed to people who were infected but nonetheless continued their activities:
"The number of unlinked cases that we have are a reflection of exposures that these individuals have had already in the past.
And it's often as a result of exposure to people who are infected, who persist on in these activities. And it's therefore important for all of us to therefore assist in controlling the creation and propagation of clusters by obeying these measures".
Also announced on Tuesday evening:
Photo via Google Maps Street View.