The Singapore government has announced that 2,480 people could be infected by the coronavirus and have thus been quarantined. These people will be tested multiple times during their quarantine period.
However, some have already tested positive raising the alarm bells.
The individuals include patrons and visitors of the KTV karaoke lounges. SafeEntry and TraceTogether helped the authorities to trace these people, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung announced on Friday, July 16.
This could be the fastest-growing Covid-19 cluster in recent times if more of the quarantined people turn out to be positive.
The health minister was addressing a press conference held by the multi-ministry Covid-19 task force.
Four Ring Process To Curb Spread Of KTV Covid-19 Cluster
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The government using the four-ring process to manage the KTV Covid-19 cluster, which grew to 120 cases on July 12. The minister first announced this cluster on July 12, 2021.
As part of the four “rings” process, the second ring will involve contacting those individuals who visited the affected KTV joints, and ask them to come forward and get tested.
Mr Ong explained that their SafeEntry and TraceTogether data from these premises is “not likely to be comprehensive.”
Number of people infected
On July 12, around 1,660 individuals came forward and got tested at regional screening centres and public health preparedness clinics. Out of those people, about 25 tested positive.
This further increased to 160 people on July 13, out of which 17 tested positive. A day later, 501 people tested and eight turned out to be positive.
The number further increased to 1,003 by July 15, but there were no positive cases from that lot.
How the ministry is handling this situation
The Ministry of Health isn’t taking any chances.
Those tested negative will also be under quarantine for the next couple of days. The authorities noted that they have contained people in the second ring.
Explaining the same, Mr Ong told the media, “The worry now is who else that they come into contact with before they get themselves tested and are they infected. And this is the bigger worry, which is the secondary infection.”
Contact Tracing The KTV Covid-19 Cluster
The government managed to identify about 2,000 people with the help TraceTogether data, who came in contact with the confirmed cases from the KTV cluster.
The government further said that these people already received an SMS that contains a health warning.
If you have received this SMS, you need to legally test for Covid-19 and then isolate until the results are negative. This is particularly for those who may have not visited the KTV lounges but came in contact with someone who did.
Clarifying the reason to get tested, Mr Ong said, “So I want to clarify, in case they are worried, or their families are worried, is that these individuals, we are not saying they went to the KTV lounges. But you have come into contact with a confirmed case could have been anywhere, and picked up by our data.”
Monitoring Health Over Next Two Weeks
For those who’ve already tested negative and are in quarantine, here’s what will happen:
The government will issue them an antigen rapid test kit to test themselves at home and monitor their health over the next two weeks.
After the 14-day quarantine period, these people will undergo a polymerase chain reaction test to verify their negative results.
The fourth process of the ring will be to alert via SMS those thousands of people in Singapore who went to malls or those locations that have KTV lounges on their premises.
While they need not quarantine or test, they will need to monitor their health and minimise meeting other people.
The KTV Covid-19 Cluster has been particularly difficult for the government due to the contact tracing concerns. In comparison, the authorities managed previous outbreaks at the Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre better.
This happened since the tenants knew where people lived, Mr Ong explained during the media briefing.
“The problem with this cluster is that we don’t have full information of who are the customers, where they have been to and where they are now. It’s hard to gather them together and to mount special ops,” added Mr Ong.
Back To Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)?
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Another lockdown is not on the cards just yet. Mr Ong said a decision will be taken based on the capacity of hospitals, particularly the ICU beds.
At present, Singapore’s ICU capacity for the Covid affected stands at about 1,000. Only one bed is occupied so far.
Covid-19 Safety Protocols To Follow
While things have opened up in Singapore, the KTV Covid-19 cluster is a prime example of why we should not let our guard down. Here are the safety protocols that you absolutely need to follow:
Wash your hands: Make sure to wash your hands frequently or use a hand sanitiser when stepping outdoors. Make sure to avoid touching those surfaces that will be touched by other people more often.
Wear a face mask: Always step out wearing a face mask. Double up with face masks if necessary but do not avoid them at all costs. It’s too early to let the guard down.
Practice good hygiene: Take a bath once you’ve been to a crowded place, make sure to sanitise all packages that have come from outdoors and make sure to keep minimise interaction with people who’ve been outdoors.
Follow all social distancing protocols: When outdoors, maintain a six-feet distance between people. Absolutely avoid crowded areas and do not risk taking your kids to places that can be potential super-spreaders.
Built strong immunity: Invest in yourself both mentally and physically during this period. Eat more nutritious food over junk, set a proper sleep cycle, learn to manage work and life commitment in a better fashion. Involve yourself in recreational activities to improve mental health.
Stay home, stay safe.
News Source: Todayonline