Singapore

Experts warn of hidden reservoirs of infections in community

This article is more than 12 months old

With six of the seven new cases outside of workers' dormitories announced yesterday being asymptomatic, it is clear there are hidden reservoirs of Covid-19 infection in the community, experts said, as Singapore enters the third day of its re-opening.

There were another 562 cases in the dormitories.

While the circuit breaker has been a success, the country now needs to go to the next level and beat the virus completely, and one way to do that is to work from home whenever possible and put up with the inconveniences of not having face-to-face interactions, said Associate Professor Josip Car, director of the Centre for Population Health Sciences at Nanyang Technological University's Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine.

When working from home is not possible, precautionary measures such as safe distancing and wearing masks should be followed, he added.

People also need to be reminded constantly that the outbreak is ongoing and there is a reason Singapore's reopening is taking place in phases, said Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health.

"We have seen the example from South Korea that a single individual who went clubbing resulted in an infection chain affecting at least a hundred others," he said.

"This reminds us that anyone may be infected and asymptomatic but end up spreading the infection to many others."

The warnings from the two professors come as the Health Ministry's announced that an 81-year-old woman was the only Singaporean among yesterday's cases.

She tested positive for the virus on Tuesday after she began showing symptoms on May 29. She was not linked to other cases.

Of the six other community cases, five are Indian national men and one is a Chinese national woman. Their ages range from 23 to 40.

All six are linked to previously announced cases.

There were 569 new coronarivus cases in all yesterday, bringing the total in Singapore to 36,405.

The ministry also said that among pre-school staff, only one case - announced on May 29 - out of the 14 who tested positive for the virus was likely to be a current infection when they were screened.

More than 39,000 pre-school staff have been tested.

Two new clusters were also confirmed, both in dormitories. They are at 12 Kwong Min Road and 8 Tuas South Lane.

There were 407 patients discharged yesterday, bringing the total number of patients who have recovered to 23,573.

Currently, 334 confirmed cases are in hospital, with five in critical condition in intensive care.

Another 12,465 are isolated and cared for at community facilities.


By the numbers

569

New cases

7

New cases in community

36,405

Total cases

407

Discharged yesterday

24

Deaths

23,573

Total recovered

334

Total in hospital

5

In intensive

coronavirus