SINGAPORE – There are 642 new Covid-19 cases preliminarily confirmed as of Saturday noon (May 23), with the number of cases in Singapore reaching 31,068.

Among these are six Singaporeans and permanent residents, while foreign workers living in dormitories form the bulk of the remaining cases.

More details will be released later on Saturday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Earlier on Saturday, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong reiterated that after June 1, employees should return to workplaces only if they need specialised equipment and machinery that cannot be accessed from home, or if they need to fulfil legal requirements.

This means that most employees working in an office setting will continue working from home.

Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force handling the Covid-19 outbreak, said in a Facebook post that many employers and managers will need to adjust their mindsets to this new normal.

For those who do have to be onsite, employers should consider if staff really need to go in every day. They could arrange for employees to work from home a few days a week.

These employers should also offer staggered work hours, and must ensure that the work environment is safe with measures such as good ventilation, high hygiene standards, and safe distancing in place.

“All these workplace measures are critical in our fight against Covid-19 – they will reduce the need for daily movement of people, and minimise the risks of the virus flaring up again,” he said.

On Friday, 838 more Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospitals and community facilities.

This means that as of Friday, 12,946, or about 43 per cent, of Covid-19 patients in Singapore have fully recovered from the disease.

The number of patients discharged has exceeded new patients in the past 10 days.

On Friday, Singapore also recorded the lowest number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care since the start of the circuit breaker period, with eight of the 798 patients still in hospital in critical condition in intensive care.

However, the average number of new daily community cases – which does not include foreign workers staying in dormitories – has risen from five cases two weeks ago to seven in the past week.

MOH attributed this is partly to active surveillance and screening of nursing home residents and pre-school staff, resulting in more cases being picked up in the past week.

Two of the four new Singaporean Covid-19 cases announced on Friday are pre-school staff.

The remaining 610 new cases announced on Friday are migrant workers living in dormitories, bringing the total number of cases in Singapore past the 30,000 mark.

As of Friday, 28,161 of the 323,000 migrant workers staying in dormitories, or more than 8 per cent, have tested positive for Covid-19.

Twenty-three patients have died from Covid-19 complications here and nine who tested positive have died from other causes.

Globally, the outbreak, which began in December last year, has infected nearly 5.3 million people. Some 339,000 have died.

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