The spread of coronavirus suggests it is almost time for Singapore to do a phased return to the way things used to be anytime soon, even if viral curves appear to flatten.
Lately, Singapore has done many things rightly. After recording its first coronavirus case on January 23, the rich city-state meticulously traced the close associates of each person known to have been infected with the virus, while keeping a sense of normalcy within its streets.
Singaporean borders were shut to populations with a likelihood of carrying the contagion, although businesses remained open with ample testing and treatment freely offered to residents.
But in the past few days, Singapore’s coronavirus caseload has more than doubled, with over 8,000 cases confirmed as of Monday, in Southeast Asia.
Most of the fresh cases of infections were found within crowded dormitories where migrant labourers live, unnoticed by many of the country’s richer residents and, it turns out, the government itself.
Channel News Asia also reports the Ministry of Health as saying, in its preliminary daily update that 451 new COVID-19 cases were identified, taking the Singapore’s total to 28,794
The source reports that the Ministry of Health revealed the vast majority of cases are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories.
The Strait Times also reports that further updates would be made public in a press release in the night on Tuesday.
The Ministry of Health said the much reduced incidence of coronavirus cases recorded on Monday was because of a testing laboratory reviewing its processes following an earlier apparatus calibration glitch which needed some time before it could ramp up testing capabilities.
This present number for coronavirus infections in Singaporeans and permanent residents represent the least incidence of cases since the circuit breaker measures were first adopted on April 7. The last time any case of infection was reported was on Friday last week.
There are believable indications the coronavirus situation in Singapore could be stabilising amid the circuit breaker.
The number of patients released from hospital is getting far higher than the number of patients discharged within the past six days, while the average number of new daily cases within the past week for Singaporeans, permanent residents, long-term pass holders and work permit holders outside dormitories has dropped in comparison with the situation two weeks before.
Monday’s reduced number of cases, 305, was partially because fewer tests were processed because one of the Ministry of Health’s testing laboratories got a problem, and needed time to scale up its testing capacity.
As of Monday, 26,090 of the 323,000 foreign workers living in dormitories, or slightly beyond 8 per cent, have been confirmed positive with the virus.
The authorities are continuing with its test on workers. Minister for Manpower, Josephine Teo, said the objective is to test all of them systematically so they could be cleared before resuming work.
Some 363 of 664,000 work permit holders outside dorms, or 0.05 per cent, and 1,310 of the about 4.7 million Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, or 0.03 per cent, have also been diagnosed with coronavirus.
As of Monday, 9,826, or about 35 percent of patients in Singapore, have fully recovered from the virus and have been discharged.
22 have died from coronavirus complications and 9 who tested positive have died from other causes.
All over the world, the virus outbreak, which began in December 2019, has infected more than 4.8 million people and some 318,000 have lost their lives.
Asia One corroborates the news of the spread of the virus with the report that the Ministry of Health has preliminary identification of 451 new coronavirus cases in Singapore, May 19, an increase from Monday’s 305 cases of infections.
Most of these new coronavirus cases involve workers from overseas living in dormitories with one Singaporean/Permanent resident case.
The report says a total of 28,794 cases have been reported in Singapore thus far, with 9,835 patients discharged from hospital and a mortality rate of 22.