Preventing a Second Peak in the Outbreak
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that the world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak and countries where coronavirus infections are declining could still face an immediate second peak if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak.
The WHO notes that while cases are declining in many countries, they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa. It stresses that countries cannot make the assumption that just because the disease is on the way down now means it is going to keep going down. The second peak may come in this wave as well without having much time to prepare for it. The WHO urged countries in Europe and North America to continue to put in place the public health and social measures, the surveillance measures, the testing measures and a comprehensive strategy to ensure that numbers continue on a downwards trajectory and prevent having an immediate second peak.
The WHO has also commented that South America is fast becoming the new epicentre of the outbreak. In particular, the novel coronavirus death toll in Brazil surpassed 21,000 on 22 May, and the country has now recorded more than 330,000 cases, with experts saying a lack of testing means the real figures are probably much higher.
With its curve of infections and deaths rising sharply, the country of 210 million ranks second in the world in terms of total cases, behind the United States and Russia. The death toll has doubled in just 11 days, according to official data.
Planning for a Cautious Exit
Singapore is gearing up for the end of its "circuit breaker" period next week. Elevated social distancing measures will be progressively lifted in three phases starting 2 June, with the resumption of economic activities that do not pose a high risk of transmission in the first phase.
The task force has urged a cautious exit as there are still undetected cases of infection circulating among the general population. An example would be 12 pre-school staff members who recently tested positive for the virus after a mass testing exercise that started from 15 May.
No New Local Clusters for the First Time in Six Weeks
For the first time in more than six weeks, no new COVID-19 cluster was identified in Singapore from 24 to 26 May.
According to data from the Ministry of Health (MOH), the last time there were no new clusters was on 8 April, a day after the "circuit breaker" period in Singapore began.
MOH Advises Continued Precautionary Measures for Seniors Post-circuit Breaker
Seniors should stay home
- For essential activities like grocery shopping, ask your family members or neighbours to help you instead.
- Wash hands with soap and water frequently.
- If you are unwell, seek medical attention from the nearest Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) immediately, regardless of the severity of symptoms. Do not doctor hop.
If you must go out, take precautions:
- Keep a safe distance from others and return home as soon as possible.
- Wear a mask at all times.
- Avoid crowded places like wet markets.
If you are returning to work:
- If you are taking public transport to work, keep a safe distance from other commuters.
- Maintain a safe distance from your co-workers when at work.
- Dine alone at meal times.
- Return home immediately after work.
- Do not go to work if you feel unwell.
Make the most of your time at home. Stay active with a range of digital resources.
- Engage in TV-based or online-based activities like sing-along sessions, exercises, and cooking demonstrations.
- Stay connected with your family and friends via phone and video calls.
If you need emotional support or just someone to talk to, call the National Care Hotline at 6202-6868. If you need support for the eldercare services such as home care and door-to-door meals delivery, call the Agency for Integrated Care at 1800-650-6060. For financial assistance, call ComCare at 1800-222-0000.
Update on New Cases
As of 26 May 2020, 12pm, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed and verified an additional 383 cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore. The lower number of cases today is partly due to fewer tests being conducted. The breakdown is as follows:
a) Imported cases: 0
b) Cases in the community: 2 (1 Singaporean / Permanent Resident, 1 Work Permit holder)
The number of new cases in the community has increased, from an average of 4 cases per day in the week before, to an average of seven per day in the past week. This is partly due to active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, which have picked up more cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has remained stable at an average of 2 per day in the past two weeks.
c) Cases residing in dormitories: 381
MOH continues to pick up many cases among Work Permit holders residing in dormitories, including in factory-converted dormitories, because of extensive testing in these premises, as part of the process to verify and test the status of all workers.
Of the new cases, 99 per cent are linked to known clusters, while the rest are pending contact tracing.
Update on Condition of Confirmed Cases
706 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 16,444 (51 per cent) have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.
There are currently 585 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and eight are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. 15,291 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. 23 have died from complications due to COVID-19 infection.