Singapore reported 465 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Saturday (May 16), taking the country’s total to 27,356.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also announced one more death – a 67-year-old Singaporean man known as case 1516. This brings the total number of fatalities from the disease to 22.
The man, who had a history of ischaemic heart disease, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia, was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Apr 7. He died on May 15 at Sengkang General Hospital.
Dormitory numbers remain high
Of the 465 new cases, 457 are work permit holders residing in dormitories.
Five cases are from the local community – four Singaporeans and a work pass holder. One of the Singaporeans is a 31-year-old dormitory inspector.
The number of new cases in the community has gone down, from an average of nine cases per day in the week before to an average of three per day in the past week, said MOH.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased, from an average of three cases per day to an average of one cases per day, the ministry added.
Fewer tests due to problem at laboratory
It noted that the number of new cases reported on Saturday is lower due to a testing issue at a laboratory.
“The lower number of cases today is partly due to fewer tests being processed as one testing laboratory is reviewing its processes following an earlier apparatus calibration issue, and will need time to ramp up its testing capacity,” said MOH.
Of the new cases, 99 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.
A total of 1,094 more patients have been discharged. In all, 8,342 people have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, said MOH.
There are 1,111 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and 16 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
17,881 in isolation
A total of 17,881 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
3 new clusters
Three new clusters have also been identified. They are at 9 Sungei Kadut Way, 7 Tech Park Crescent and 137 Tuas View Square.
Earlier on Saturday, MOH said it had released 18 patients from the D’Resort community care facility, who had been staying there for “prolonged periods”.
18 tested positive but released home
The 18 were “clinically very well” yet “persistently tested positive” for COVID-19, said the ministry.
A medical review committee “deliberated on each of these cases individually and determined that the patients are shedding dead viral components, detectable through the PCR test, but which are no longer transmissible and infective to others”, said MOH.
Singapore has less than a month of its “circuit breaker” period left to go. Until Jun 1, all workplaces will remain shut except for those providing essential services. Residents are also barred from leaving their homes except to exercise alone or for basic necessities.
At a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak on Friday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said circuit breaker measures need to be lifted “carefully and slowly”, warning that community cases will “likely” increase with the easing of some restrictions.
“Because if we are not careful, the number of cases will spike up and you may have big clusters forming again,” he said.
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