11 Indians among 106 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore

People queue to get a free refill of hand sanitiser at a mall , as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Singapore, April 1, 2020.

People queue to get a free refill of hand sanitiser at a mall , as the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Singapore, April 1, 2020.   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

The patients are aged between 28 and 44.

Eleven Indians are among the 106 new coronavirus cases reported in Singapore on Tuesday, taking the total number of COVID-19 patients in the country to 1,481, the Health Ministry said.

All the Indian nationals — nine males and two females — were infected locally, though one had a travel history to India, it said.

Also read: In virus fight, Singapore may jail people who stand close

The patients are aged between 28 and 44.

Three of the new cases are imported, theMministry said, adding that two Singaporean nurses and a health care assistant are among the new COVID-19 patients.

A total of 39 cases are linked to clusters at foreign worker dormitories where contact tracing is still pending for 41 cases, it said.

Twenty-nine of the 627 patients still in hospital are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. The rest are stable or improving.

Thirty-three more patients have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In total, 377 patients have fully recovered from the virus.

Watch | COVID-19: Dos and don'ts from the Health Ministry

As of April 7, the Ministry has identified 17,819 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 4,618 are currently quarantined, and 13,201 have completed their quarantine.

Govt. mulls new law

Meanwhile, the government is considering a new law, which will ban social gatherings of any size — in homes or public spaces.

The gatherings include private parties, family or friends gatherings.

“This enables us to better regulate events and gatherings, including those that take place on private properties,” Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Tuesday during the debate on the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Bill.

The authorities had previously advised against holding and participating in social gatherings with more than 10 people. Events such as conferences, concerts and sporting events must be deferred or cancelled regardless of size.

Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry COVID-19 task force, said the bill provides the legal basis to enforce enhanced safe distancing measures, and are temporary measures specific to the outbreak that Singapore is facing.

The proposed law would also allow the government to requisition land, property or services needed to ramp up healthcare capacity and public health capabilities under the Requisition of Resources Act that was first passed in 1985.

Gan told the House that if the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in Singapore, it may become necessary to requisition buildings that can be converted into accommodations and care facilities.

“I am very grateful that today, many hotel and building operators have voluntarily stepped forward in this difficult period to work with the Government to support the national COVID-19 efforts. However, in a crisis like this, time is often of the essence and we cannot rely solely on commercial negotiation or the goodwill of these resource owners. We will need to move fast,” he said.

Gan added that the government would exercise these powers judiciously and work closely with affected stakeholders.

As per the draft legislation, the health minister would also have the power to close premises such as workplaces, schools, recreational facilities and places of worship, to minimise interactions and reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

It allows the Minister to set requirements for premises in key economic sectors or essential services that are allowed to continue operating, including having food establishments open only for take-away or delivery, and not allowing customers to dine in.

The Minister would also be able to restrict the movement and interactions of individuals at their place of residence or other places, as well as their use of common areas like void decks, and shared facilities in HDB estates and private condominiums.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 11:17:02 PM |

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