The number of positive Covid-19 infections has doubled overnight in Singapore, with cases linked to two hotspots. As the numbers tick upwards, restrictions have been reimposed just a week after they were eased.
Singapore logged 163 new coronavirus cases on Monday, with 125 of those linked to two outbreaks in the city – at Jurong fishery port and a KTV karaoke lounge – and Health Minister Ong Ye Kung revealing that the two spreader events were linked.
The overwhelming majority of cases, 106, are from the fishery port, and 19 from the karaoke venue. The health minister described the cluster of cases rising from the fishing port as more concerning, “because it is seeding cases in various markets, and the communities around them.”
As a result of the increased infections, the south-east Asian country decided on July 16 to reverse last week’s decision to ease social distancing measures on Monday. Under the new rules, there will be a cap on the number of unvaccinated people dining together until August 8, which will mean that only two people can visit restaurants together, with the previous number of permitted diners being five. However, vaccinated people may eat in groups of up to five.
Singapore had previously said in June that its future approach to handling the coronavirus pandemic would be a matter of learning to live with the virus, opting for testing before mass events or on arrival from overseas. Rather than counting daily cases, the country planned instead to monitor the number of hospitalizations and how many people need oxygen as the determining factors for whether to tighten measures. However, as the recent outbreaks have presented a new challenge, Singapore continues to count infections daily.
In comparison to other countries in the region, Singapore has recorded very few fatalities and infections since the outbreak of the pandemic, reporting just over 63,000 positive cases and 36 deaths. The low number of cases and deaths within the country of 5.7 million can be attributed to an unprecedented move to shut its borders to all travelers in March 2020, even those using the country as a transit.
Singapore also ranks as one of the highest vaccinated countries. Over 70% of its population has received a first dose, and almost half of the country is fully vaccinated.