Biggest daily jump sees coronavirus cases in Singapore hit 1,000 – dpa international


The Diabetes and Metabolism Center at Singapore General Hospital (Simon Roughneen)

The Diabetes and Metabolism Center at Singapore General Hospital (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Singapore’s Health Ministry on Wednesday night confirmed 74 new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, representing the biggest one-day increase since the outbreak began.

The city-state’s total caseload has now reached 1,000. Fifty-four of the newly-confirmed diagnoses were described by the ministry as “local.”

The resurgence in cases with no recent overseas travel history reverses a trend of “imported” cases – mostly homebound Singaporeans.

“Our focus now has to be on our locally transmitted cases, especially the cases that are still popping up,” said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.

The coronavirus had infected less than 90,000 people  worldwide by the end of February, before spiralling in March, with Singapore’s infection numbers creeping up.

As the pandemic spread, Singapore, one of the world’s richest countries measured by per capita income, shut its borders to visitors, though case numbers remain low relative to European countries.

Singapore’s rigorous testing, quarantining and “contact-tracing” has been lauded as a possible model for other countries, though Singapore’s small size, social stability nd  relative affluence give it unique advantages in implementing easures that would arguably be beyond the capacity of bigger, less well-off countries.

The impact of the pandemic on the wealthy but tiny city-state’s economy prompted the government to last week propose spending up to 55 billion Singapore dollars (38 billion US dollars) to cushion against a looming recession triggered by the pandemic.

Singapore has not yet resorted to the lockdowns seen in neighbouring Malaysia and the Philippines, keeping schools and most businesses open.

Pubs, cinemas and other entertainment venues have been told to close until the end of April.

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