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Record 1,426 new cases in Singapore, mostly foreign workers affected

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Singapore, Coronavirus, COVID-19, COVID19, Singapore Lockdown, Lockdown

Singapore on Monday reported a record 1,426 new coronavirus cases, out of which 1,410 are foreign workers, including Indians residing in dormitories, health officials said.

With the fresh cases, the total number of coronavirus cases in the city-state stands at 8,014, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

“We are still working through the details of the cases, and further updates will be shared via the MOH press release that will be issued tonight,” said the Ministry in a statement.

A total of 18 foreign worker dormitories have been gazetted as isolation areas, as the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

As of Sunday, the cluster at S11 Dormitory at Punggol remained the biggest, with 1,508 confirmed cases.

The next biggest cluster was at Sungei Tengah Lodge, with 521 confirmed cases.

Though the dormitories are being disinfected and bedding accommodation re-arranged, most of these were overcrowded, leading to a large number of cases as foreign workers are now undergoing screening and testing.

All foreign workers in the construction sector have been placed on mandatory stay-home notices until May 4 as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) noted that while the recent rise in the number of foreign workers infected with the coronavirus has mostly been concentrated in dormitories, there have been cases at construction worksites.

Meanwhile, crime-fighting has continued during the COVID-19 outbreak, albeit with precautionary measures for inmates, suspects and accused persons, the Channel News Asia reported on Monday.

In the prisons, where no coronavirus case has been detected as of Apr 10, inmates have been issued with a reusable mask each.

Newly admitted inmates are housed separately from the general population and monitored for 14 days, said the Singapore Prison Service (SPS).

All inmates have their temperatures taken twice daily and safe distancing measures are in place to reduce the gathering of inmates, for example during yard time.

Family members of inmates are not allowed to visit during the circuit breaker period from Apr 7 to May 4, as SPS has suspended all family visits.

Instead, inmates can make local phone calls to their families or communicate via email and traditional mail.

If the inmates need to be produced in court, video-conferencing is used when possible, otherwise SPS works closely with the courts to implement safe distancing for those who need escorting to court.

A Singapore Police Force spokesperson told the Channel that police services are “largely unaffected”, but frontline officers are issued with personal protective equipment including masks and gloves.

Most court hearings originally scheduled during the circuit breaker period have been adjourned, the Chief Justice previously announced.

However, cases that are urgent and essential continue to be heard, albeit with extra precautions, according to the Channel report.

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