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Coronavirus cases in Singapore likely to increase in coming weeks

Press Trust of India  |  Singapore 

Singapore expects the number of coronavirus cases to rise in coming weeks as some of the 200,000 overseas Singaporeans return home, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong warned on Wednesday.

Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam has also warned that those who breached stay-home notices issued to curb the COVID-19 pandemic will be investigated and would face charge in court.

In his ministerial statement in Parliament, Gan pointed out that the number of cases in Singapore has more than doubled in the past week, from 266 to a total of 558 as of Wednesday.

"Almost 80 per cent of these new cases were imported, all from countries other than China even though we continued to see around 1,000 residents and long-term pass holders return from China in the past week," Gan said.

Gan said Singapore has slowed the spread of COVID-19 through a three-pronged approach: reducing importation, detecting and isolating cases early, and emphasising social responsibility and good personal hygiene habits.

First, Singapore has implemented border controls to stem the inflow of travellers, all short-term visitors, including tourists, have been barred from entering or transiting since Tuesday.

The government also advised Singaporeans to defer all travel until the global situation is under control.

Singapore has so far carried out around 39,000 tests for the coronavirus. This translates to 6,800 tests per million people in Singapore, compared to around 6,500 in South Korea and 1,000 in Taiwan.

Meanwhile, Minister K Shanmugam has also warned that those who breached stay-home notices issued to curb the COVID-19 pandemic will be charged in court, according to media reports.

"I have given very clear instructions," he said. "Where these cases (of breaches) are verified to be true, we will charge in court."

Shanmugam's comments are the latest indication that authorities are ready to get tough with those who do not abide by the notices, which have been issued to all travellers entering Singapore since Mar 22.

These people are required to remain at home at all times for 14 days as a precautionary measure to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission in Singapore.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, March 25 2020. 19:48 IST
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