Singapore Steps Up Covid-19 Testing as New, Unlinked Cases Rise

Singapore is stepping up mandatory testing across the island-nation for Covid-19 as new and unlinked infections rise in the local community, posing a threat to its virus containment strategy.

The government will conduct tests for all residents of a housing block in the north-eastern district of Hougang after some positive coronavirus cases were found there, the Ministry of Health said in a statement on Thursday. Separately, about 2,000 more students and staff from Singapore Polytechnic will undergo testing after a fourth student was found to have the virus, the Straits Times reported, citing a school spokesman.

Singapore Steps Up Covid-19 Testing as New, Unlinked Cases Rise

The number of new coronavirus cases in the community has more than doubled in the past week from the week before to 190 while that for unlinked infections has risen by more than four times in the same period to 52 cases, according to the ministry’s statement.

Authorities discovered 27 new coronavirus cases in the community on Thursday with a majority linked to earlier infections while six remained untraceable. Six of the new daily cases were school students with ages ranging from three to 19 years old.

A resurgence in infections has forced the Southeast Asian nation back into lockdown-like conditions it last imposed a year ago in a bid to slow transmissions. The country had earlier this month also rolled out mass testing efforts in hospitals as well as at its sea port and airport to ringfence cases as more virus clusters emerged.

There are currently 24 active virus clusters with the one at Changi Airport being the country’s largest with 100 linked cases, according to the ministry’s data.

No new infections were found in the foreign worker dormitories, while 14 imported cases were detected and had been placed in isolation upon arrival in the country.

Singapore currently has 240 confirmed virus cases who are still in the hospital and four of them are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. The death toll rose to 32 after a 70-year-old Singaporean died from virus-related complications on Thursday, the ministry said.

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