73 new coronavirus cases in Singapore; 18 cases from new cluster at PCF Sparkletots preschool in Fengshan

The ministry said there are now 18 cases linked to a new cluster at the PCF Sparkletots Preschool at Fengshan Block 126.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Singapore has confirmed 73 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases here to 631, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (March 25).

Of the 38 imported cases, all except on were returning residents and long-term pass holders who had travelled to Europe, North America, Asean and other parts of Asia.

There were 27 cases linked to clusters or previous cases, while contact tracing is ongoing for eight cases that are not linked to travel or previous cases.

The ministry said there are now 18 cases linked to a new cluster at the PCF Sparkletots Preschool at Fengshan Block 126.

Fourteen of the cases in this new cluster are staff at the preschool, while four are family members of case 601.

Another three confirmed cases are staff at a new cluster at Dover Court International School.

To date, a total of 160 patients have fully recovered from the infection and been discharged from hospital.

Among the 404 patients still in hospital, a total of 17 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Wednesday told the House that the number of coronavirus cases will continue to rise in coming weeks, as some of the 200,000 overseas Singaporeans return home.

He noted that the number of cases in Singapore had more than doubled last week.

Singapore had announced its strictest measures to date in the fight against Covid-19 a day earlier, which included closing all entertainment outlets, limiting gatherings outside work and school to 10 people or fewer, and suspending all centre-based tuition and enrichment classes.

To deter people from travelling overseas, any Singapore resident or long-term pass holder who leaves Singapore from Friday will be charged unsubsidised rates should they be hospitalised in public hospitals for Covid-19 treatment.

They will also not be able to claim from MediShield Life or Integrated Shield Plans for these treatments at public and private hospitals.

The tough measures will take effect on 11.59pm on Thursday and willl be in place until the end of April, at least.

To assist businesses and Singaporeans to cope with the economic impact of the outbreak, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat will present a supplementary Budget in Parliament on Thursday. It will detail additional support measures for workers, businesses and households.

The coronavirus has so far infected more than 436,000 people worldwide and killed over 19,600.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.

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