Singapore is tightening border and social distancing controls as it reports an expansion of newly formed clusters.
Thirteen cases have been linked to a cluster in a hospital, which locked down four wards, the health ministry said on Friday. The patients in the wards tested negative.
Close contacts have been quarantined while visitors and discharged patients who were at Tan Tock Seng Hospital during the “infectious period” will be tested, the ministry said.
The uptick in infections comes after the daily number of locally transmitted cases in the city state had hit zero or low single digits for months.
“This current situation is of concern,” said Eugene Soh, chief executive at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which is reducing non-urgent elective treatments and accidents and emergency checks that are not life threatening. By this weekend, the hospital will have tested its 1,100 in-patients and 4,500 staff.
Authorities will close the public places visited by the patients in this cluster for two days for cleaning and to test employees.
More broadly, authorities will tighten rules including reducing capacity at malls and closing outdoor barbecue pits for the first half of May. Officials on Friday also encouraged people to limit social gatherings to two a day.
“If the situation were to worsen we may have to consider further tightening and significantly reducing interactions in the community with more stringent measures,” said Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the Covid-19 task force.
Singapore has recently identified clusters linked to an immigration officer and to a migrant worker dormitory, where 25 workers who had recovered from Covid-19 tested positive. The health ministry said five were likely reinfections while the others still had the virus present in their bodies.
Meanwhile, jumps in infections beyond the city state will lead to the closure of its borders as of May 2 to visitors and long-term residents who travelled or transited via Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the past 14 days.
Travellers who have recently visited Thailand will be quarantined upon arriving in Singapore from May 3 at dedicated facilities. They may no longer opt to isolate elsewhere.