Singapore, Mar 22 (PTI) Singapore has reported 47 new coronavirus cases, including 39 imported infections, taking the total number to 432 in the country, officials have said.
The city-state reported two deaths related to the COVID-19 infections on Saturday while 89 foreigners were banned for breaching safety measures.
Most of these new cases in Singapore have been imported cases, that is, returning residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Europe, North America, South-east Asia and other parts of Asia, the Health Ministry said on Saturday.
There were 432 cases of the deadly coronavirus in Singapore as of Saturday evening. Fourteen cases are in critical condition in the intensive care unit out of the 290 hospitalised patients. A total of 140 cases have fully recovered from the infection of the deadly virus, the officials said.
Singapore authorities have introduced stricter and safe distancing measures on Friday to reduce the risk of further local transmission and said all events and gatherings with 250 or more participants are to be suspended until June 30, reported local media.
Events with fewer than 250 people and operators of venues accessible to the public, such as restaurants and cinemas, are required to implement measures to ensure separation of at least 1 metres between patrons.
All doctors in public and private hospitals, as well as private specialist clinics, have been advised by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to immediately stop or defer accepting new foreign patients who do not reside in Singapore.
They have also been instructed to encourage their current foreign patients to seek continued care in their home countries, according to a media report.
Noel Yeo, senior vice-president, medical company Parkway Pantai's Singapore operations division, said that non-essential procedures were already mostly postponed after the city-state raised Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon) level to orange.
However, 'there were still a small number of patients who came to us for critical or essential treatment,' he was quoted as saying by The Straits Times.
'Under MOH's new directive, all new cases of such patients who do not reside in Singapore will be asked to defer their appointments or seek medical care elsewhere. We are working with our doctors to ensure that these patients continue to be cared for as adequately as possible,' Yeo said.
Meanwhile, 89 foreigners, who are work pass holders, have been permanently banned from working in Singapore, said the Manpower Ministry.
They have had their passes revoked as of Saturday for breaching entry approval and stay-home notice requirements.
The Ministry has also suspended the work pass privileges of the employers for periods ranging from one to three years, as they had failed to discharge their duties to ensure that their employees comply with the Leave of Absence (LOA) or stay-home notice requirements.
Of the 89 work passes revoked, 73 work pass holders with travel history to COVID-19 affected countries and entered Singapore without obtaining entry approval from the ministry.
The remaining 16 work pass holders were caught breaching the LOA or stay-home notice requirements here.
Some work pass holders were caught working at their workplaces, while others were caught leaving their place of residence during the period of their LOA or stay-home notice, even when instructed not to do so, said the ministry.
The ministry reminded employers to seek approval online for work pass holders to enter or return to Singapore, as entry approvals and stay-home notices are now required for work pass holders entering Singapore from anywhere in the world.
Employers should inform their employees not to make travel plans to Singapore until approval has been obtained from the ministry.
The Manpower Ministry stressed that it will continue to take enforcement measures against errant employers or employees who do not comply with the requirements, including the revocation of work passes and suspension of work pass privileges.
More than 21,200 stay-home notices have been issued in Singapore as of Thursday, with the restriction being expanded to apply to all travellers entering Singapore from Saturday.
Those who fail to comply with the notice face prosecution under Section 21A of the Infectious Diseases Act, and may be fined up to SGD10,000, jailed up to six months, or both.
Other penalties include revoking or shortening the validity of a person's permanent residency status, long-term visit pass, dependent's pass, student's pass or work pass.
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the death toll from the virus globally has risen to 13,044 with 307,104 cases reported in 171 countries and territories. PTI GS AMS AMS