Singapore reports 52 new coronavirus cases

Gurdip Singh

Singapore, Mar 26 (PTI) Singapore reported 52 new cases of coronavirus on Thursday, bringing the total number of infections to 683 as the government unveiled a resilience package of SGD 48.4 billion (USD 33.17 billion) to sail the country through the economic challenges posed by the deadly disease.

Out of the fresh infections, 28 cases are imported, while the rest are local, the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release said on Thursday.

The imported cases have the history of travel to Europe, North America, Middle East, ASEAN and other parts of Asia.

Of the 404 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, 18 are in critical condition.

Earlier on Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat announced additional financial support measures for businesses and households in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Government is dipping into past reserves to fund an additional SGD48.4 billion worth of measures that include cash handouts, tax rebates and support for businesses.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Thursday warned that foreign workers who do not comply with limited gatherings rule of a maximum of 10 people could have their work passes revoked if they fail to disperse when told to by the authorities.

The ministry gave an example of gathering areas of foreign workers such as Little Indian precinct which is popular among South Asian workers here.

The warning comes after Singapore on Tuesday announced stricter measures, including limiting gatherings outside school and work to a maximum of 10 people, as part of efforts to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

In a letter to employers, MOM said foreign workers are expected to practise safe distancing during their rest days and that it will conduct ground inspections to 'pro-actively disperse gatherings'.

'As outdoor gatherings among foreign workers tend to be large, MOM will take action to disperse them as an added precaution,' the Channel News Asia reported citing the Ministry's letter.

'MOM will step up inspections on the ground. Workers who do not cooperate will have their work passes revoked.' Foreign workers who meet in indoor spaces must also observe the latest rules on gathering sizes, said the letter.

'They should avoid gathering in public spaces or visiting crowded places such as Little India,' it said.

It 'strongly advised' foreign workers to remain in their places of residence on their rest days, adding that those who have errands to run should make use of facilities within their dormitories or as close by as possible. PTI GS RS RS