Singapore: Singapore reported 188 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday, majority of them foreign workers living in dormitories, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 44,310, according to the health ministry. Also Read - Sanjay Dutt Hospitalised in Mumbai Due to Breathlessness, Has Been Tested Negative For COVID-19

The new cases include 10 new community infections, comprising eight Singaporeans (citizens) or permanent residents (foreigners) and two foreigners on work passes but living outside the dormitories. Also Read - Zimbabwe Cancel T20I Series Against Afghanistan Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

This takes the total number of cases in the country to 44,310 since the coronavirus outbreak was reported here, said the Ministry of Health. Out of the new 188 cases, 178 are foreign workers living in dormitories, it said. Also Read - COVID-19: Centre Raps 13 Districts For High Mortality Rate, 5 of Them Are in Bengal | Check List

A total of 209 patients remain in hospitals, including one in the intensive care unit, while 4,876 are recuperating in community facilities, the ministry said.

It said 511 patients were discharged from hospitals on Wednesday. Overall, 39,011 have fully recovered from the disease and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.

Twenty-six people have died from complications due to the COVID-19 infection in Singapore.

Globally, over 5 lakh people have died due to COVID-19 and more than 10 million have been infected.

The increase in the average number of new COVID-19 cases in the community per day is “not unexpected” as more activities resumed under Phase 2 reopening of Singapore, Channel News Asia reported on Thursday.

“This is not unexpected as more activities resume and the number of interactions increases. A similar trend can be observed in many other countries that have exited from lockdowns and restrictions,” Minister for Health Gan Kim Yong said on Thursday.

The number of new cases in the community has increased from an average of four cases per day in the week before to an average of eight cases a day in the past week, Gan told a multi-ministry task force press conference.

Among the community cases in the past two weeks, the majority were picked up from active surveillance and screening.

“We want to detect cases early so that we can ringfence them and prevent large clusters from forming,” he added.

The health ministry wants to be “a bit more careful” because asymptomatic transmission could occur, the health minister said.

Most of the cases detected in the community are mild or have no symptoms, the Channel reported citing Ministry Of Health (MOH) director of medical services Associate Professor Kenneth Mak.

Test results also suggest that many of the infections occurred “quite some time ago”, he added.

With Singapore in Phase 2, the risk of transmission increases if a person who turns out to have COVID-19 does not see a doctor immediately and goes out to work or to have a meal, added Minister of National Development Lawrence Wong who co-chairs the task force.

“And that’s why, as we have highlighted, we now move in a lot more aggressively, a lot faster, to identify all the possible close contacts. And we try and put a large ringfence around that confirmed case. When we go in, we know that there is a case, we immediately go in to identify a larger group that potentially might be close contacts,” , he stressed.

Noting that the ministry is “casting a wider net” around each confirmed COVID-19 case, Wong said the public should expect that more people may be notified when the cases are confirmed.

“While we have this enhanced testing and tracing capability, I think we should not take it for granted that this system is foolproof and that we can catch every single case, the Channel quoted Minister Wong as saying.

“We should not push the system to its limits, we should not be taking unnecessary risk,” said Wong, urging individuals to remain vigilant and uphold social distancing measures.