Singapore will test thousands of people for Covid-19 as the number of infections unlinked to current virus clusters continued to rise over the weekend.
An additional 10 Covid-19 cases were reported by the country’s health ministry late on Sunday, including a private-hire driver with Grab Holdings, an employee at Lendlease and a landscaper at government agency National Parks Board, none of whom are linked to previous virus cases. Separately, four individuals are connected to an earlier cluster at Changi Airport and three are related to the cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
The number of unlinked virus cases in the local community has risen to 13 cases in the past week from 10 the week before, the government said Sunday.
The Southeast Asian country will expand virus testing to about 9,000 workers at two of the airport’s terminals and the connected Jewel shopping mall in a bid to stem the spread. Close to 4,000 port workers will also undergo testing after four people at the city-state’s seaport facilities were detected to have Covid-19 over the past 10 days.
The Maritime and Port Authority said Sunday that 2,750 people have so far tested negative for coronavirus.
The mass testing strategy will also include about 2,200 students, staff and visitors at Victoria Junior College after a student registered positive for the virus in recent days, the Ministry of Education said on Saturday. Just over 100 people who are close contacts of the infected individual will be quarantined as well.
The threat had been easing for Singapore until a few weeks ago when new clusters started to emerge, including cases with the variant of Covid-19 first detected in India. Tighter social-distancing measures kicked in for the country on Saturday with officials saying they were necessary to prevent a harsher lockdown similar to one last year.
A rise in unlinked cases in Singapore could jeopardize a planned travel bubble with Hong Kong, scheduled to begin on May 26. According to the terms of the agreement, the air-travel corridor will be closed for two weeks if the seven-day moving average of the daily number of unlinked local cases is more than five in either city.