Singapore reports 396 new coronavirus cases

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Singapore, Jul 31 (PTI) As many as 396 foreign workers in Singapore tested positive for the coronavirus on Friday, taking the country’s COVID-19 caseload to 52,205, the health ministry said.

There were also three imported cases who were placed on stay-home notices upon their arrival in the country, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

It has so far confirmed 52,205 coronavirus cases since the testing began in January this year.

The MOH said that 210 patients were discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday.

In all, 46,308 people have fully recovered from the infection.

There are currently 148 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, while 5,326 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, experts said that years of investment in healthcare, and a well thought out and executed strategy to keep infection numbers low have helped to ensure Singapore has one of the world's lowest Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admissions and fatality rates.

In the last two weeks, there has been no admission to the ICUs, with the last patient discharged on July 14, The Straits Times reported on Friday.

Of those who were in the ICU, more than three quarters, or 98, have fully recovered and been discharged. Another eight are recovering in general wards in the hospital.

Still, not everyone got well, with 18 patients dying from COVID-19-related complications while four died of other causes.

Until now, Singapore has had 27 COVID-19-related deaths.

While coronavirus cases in Singapore have surged past 50,000, only a tiny fraction of those who fell ill, just 128, or 0.3 per cent, have been admitted to the ICU as of Monday.

This makes for a case fatality rate of less than 0.1 per cent, an extremely low percentage compared with that of other developed nations, according to the Singapore daily report.

An extremely low fatality rate like in Singapore is a reflection of the nation's high quality of healthcare… said Dr Phua Kai Hong, an adjunct senior research fellow with the Institute of Policy Studies at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.

It also reflects how well-stocked and equipped ICUs are so patients are able to receive timely and proper utilisation when needed, Dr Phua said.

'As COVID-19 slowly subsides, and if the quality of care is maintained, the case fatality rate in Singapore would look better and better when compared with other countries,' he said, noting that there will be some adjustments in tallying deaths when the pandemic finally subsides.

The low death rate and ICU admissions are also the result of Singapore's success in keeping numbers manageable, said Associate Professor Jeremy Lim, director of the Global Health Programme at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore.

'We should appreciate that our low death rates are also because the system was not overwhelmed like in Wuhan (China) or Lombardy (Italy) which had death rates much higher than in other parts of China and Italy respectively,' report quoted Lim as saying.

In the longer term, the pandemic has signalled the importance of maintaining investments healthcare, not just in equipment and facilities but also in human capital, Lim added. PTI GS CPS

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