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Covid-19 numbers rise due to imported cases, details about them not as extensive

Tracking their movements may not be as relevant to management of outbreak




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Singapore has seen more confirmed Covid-19 cases over the past few days largely due to imported cases and people returning from overseas.

Meanwhile, details concerning them provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH), in a report on coconuts.sg, are not as extensive as those for cases since the beginning of the outbreak.

There have been 345 confirmed cases in Singapore since the first patient was diagnosed on Jan 23. A total of 124 people have made a full recovery and discharged from hospital. While there are 15 people in critical condition, there have been no deaths from Covid-19.

On Wednesday (March 18), there were 47 new confirmed cases, the biggest jump in a 24-hour period so far. Thirty-three are imported ones, meaning they have a travel history to Europe, North America, the Asean countries and other parts of Asia, according to MOH.

While these cases are listed on MOH’s website in an annexe showing the date when the patient was confirmed as positive for the coronavirus, which hospital they are admitted to, their age, gender, nationality, travel history, whether their case is local or imported, what other Covid-19 cases they may be linked to as well as the cluster, if there is a link, all this information is still less than what it was the day before and all the days leading to March 18.

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From the first confirmed cases to March 17, more extensive case histories were provided on the MOH website. This included the onset of symptoms, hospitals where the patient was first examined and treated, specific dates and places in the patient’s travel history, and where the patients live and work, attesting to the transparency concerning the cases that has won praise from other countries.

On Thursday (March 19), the MOH mentioned 32 new confirmed cases, with 24 classified as imported cases.

Since tracking their movements when they were not yet in the country may not be as relevant to Singapore’s management of the outbreak, it does stand to reason that only the most relevant information about the patients is included on the MOH site.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is the co-chairman along with Health Minister Gan Kim Yong of the multi-ministry task force tackling the crisis, said this week: “As you have heard, most of these cases are imported ones and the majority are Singaporeans and residents coming back from overseas. We have said this before – fortunately, we have been able to pick them up early, some even right at the airport, some shortly after they come home and see a doctor, and we know that these cases have not gone on to spread to other people. But we cannot afford to take further risks. The numbers of these imported cases are here to rise.”

Returnees to Singapore are now required to self-quarantine for two weeks. Mr Wong added that, as more Singaporeans come home, the number of cases will continue to rise. “And we have to expect, given the way the virus is transmitting overseas, that some of the returning Singaporeans will also be infected,” he said. 

Singapore is not the only country seeing a so-called “second wave” of Covid-19 infections from imported cases. China and South Korea are reporting a similar occurrence. /TISG

Read also: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong says SG should expect ‘significantly higher numbers’ of new COVID-19 cases

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong says SG should expect ‘significantly higher numbers’ of new COVID-19 cases


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