Singapore Doesn’t See Second Coronavirus Wave at This Point

Singapore says it doesn’t see a second wave of coronavirus infections at this point, even as the number of community and imported cases ticked up after the city-state lifted restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the pandemic.

The new cases are a continuation of cryptic infections occurring within the community, Kenneth Mak, the health ministry’s director of medical services, said at a briefing Tuesday.

“The increased number of cases we’re seeing in the community reflects that increased social interactivity, leading to more transmission occurring, but that’s not necessarily a second wave,” Mak said. “We don’t see this as a second wave at this point in time.”

In the past week, Singapore saw the average of new community cases a day rise to 12 from around 8 in the prior week. Also over the past week, 20 imported cases were detected, after a long period where there were none. This comes as some countries globally are seeing a resurgence in virus cases after lockdowns eased.

With Singapore’s election set to be held July 10 amid the pandemic that has infected about 45,000 people in the city-state, the government’s response to tackling the virus is set to be one of the defining issues in the polls. While it was praised for its earlier containment of the outbreak, the spread among migrant workers -- making up more than nine in 10 cases -- has challenged the country’s efforts.

Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the virus task force, said at the briefing that Singapore has brought infection rates down and has among the lowest death rates in the world.

Within the community, households were the most common mode of transmission, with an increase seen in workplace cases. Among the community unlinked cases -- of which 50% were from the construction sector -- half were past infections and the majority were asymptomatic. Still, total overall daily new cases have been on the decline, and migrant worker dormitory cases have also fallen.

Officials tamped down talk that the country might revert to more restrictive measures after the elections, with health minister Gan Kim Yong saying “that’s not the case.”

Minister of National Development Wong said that while Singapore can’t rule out another nationwide circuit-breaker, “we will try very hard not to have to go down that path.”

On the possibility of a travel bubble between ASEAN countries, Wong said that’s not something that can be achieved in the near term.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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