Singapore reports 657 new COVID-19 cases; number of cases fluctuating due to backlog: MoH

SINGAPORE (CNA) – Singapore reported 657 new cases of COVID-19 as of noon yesterday, taking the country’s total to 18,205.

“The number of cases amongst migrant workers has been fluctuating in recent days due to clearance of backlogged cases by one laboratory,” said the Ministry of Health (MoH) in its daily update of preliminary figures.

The ministry said it is working with the laboratory to stabilise its operations.

The majority of the new infections are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories, MoH said. Ten cases are Singapore citizens or permanent residents.

Singapore is into its fourth week of a “circuit breaker” period to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Last Saturday, the multi-ministry task force dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore announced the easing of some restrictions, with selected services and businesses allowed to resume this month.Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners can begin to offer acupuncture services for pain management from tomorrow.

Home-based food businesses, selected food retail outlets and food manufacturing firms can resume operations from May 12.

Some students will be allowed to return to school from May 19 for face-to-face lessons.

These will include those who are taking national exams or those in need of additional help.

“While the number of community cases has come down, we are not out of the woods yet. New clusters may form if we let our guards down,” said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a press conference last Saturday.

Singapore must press on with efforts to keep its numbers low, and the rest of the circuit breaker measures will remain in force until June 1, he said.