Published: 11:52, May 1, 2020 | Updated: 03:22, June 6, 2023
S'pore unveils new healthcare measures as infections jump
By Agencies

Men talk to a security guard before getting into a foreign workers' dormitory that currently under isolation as a preventive measure against the spread of the novel coronavirus, in Singapore on April 29, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

SINGAPORE / TOKYO / KUALA LUMPUR - Singapore’s government outlined a plan to expand healthcare facilities for foreign workers as coronavirus cases in the city-state jumped, reversing a downward trend.

The Ministry of Health on Friday confirmed an additional 932 cases, the vast majority of whom are work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories. Five are Singaporeans or permanent residents. That brings total confirmed cases to almost 17,000.

The increase comes as Singapore has more than doubled its daily testing capacity since early April and scaled up medical facilities by adding capacity at isolation wards and intensive care units. 

On Friday, officials unveiled a suite of additional measures including onsite medical facilities at all 43 purpose-built dormitories, medical posts that will serve factory-converted dormitories housing around 65,000 workers, and 12 mobile medical teams made up of more than 50 medical personnel.

Singapore’s coronavirus cases in foreign worker dormitories may take a few weeks to reduce low enough to suggest the spread is under control, Health Ministry’s chief health scientist Professor Tan Chorh Chuan said in an interview with the Straits Times.

READ MORE: Australia moving to 'COVID-safe' society, but travel ban stays


Afghanistan, beset by a poor healthcare system, malnutrition, war and other vulnerabilities, likely is facing a “health disaster” from the coronavirus, a watchdog report to the US Congress warns.

The spread of COVID-19 already has significantly impacted Afghanistan, the report said, from complicating the peace initiative to forcing border crossing closures that have disrupted commercial and humanitarian deliveries.

Afghanistan has confirmed nearly 2,200 coronavirus cases and 64 deaths, according to local news reports quoting the Health Ministry.


Australia will consider next Friday whether to relax coronavirus-related mobility restrictions, as the growth rate of new infections slows, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Friday following a national cabinet meeting.

Morrison urged Australians to download an app aimed at tracing contacts of COVID-19 patients, saying it was a pre-condition to relaxing the containment measures.

Australia has reported about 6,700 cases of the new coronavirus and 93 deaths, significantly below the levels reported in the United States, Britain and Europe. Growth in new infections has slowed to less 0.5% a day, compared to 25% a month ago.


India's federal health ministry on Friday morning said 72 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 1,433 positive cases were reported since last evening across the country, taking the death toll to 1,147 and the total cases to 35,043.

"As of 8:00 a.m. (local time), today 1,147 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country," read information released by the ministry.


The Iraqi Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed 82 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,085 in the country.

The 82 new cases during the past 24 hours were 17 in the capital Baghdad, 28 in Basra, 13 in Erbil, seven in each Muthanna and Kirkuk, four in Babil, two in each Dhi Qar and Maysan, and one in Sulaimaniyah and Najaf each, the ministry said in a statement.

So far, up to 93 have died from the disease while 1,375 recovered, according to the statement.

ALSO READ: Thailand to reopen some businesses as new cases drop

The Cape penguins named Momo and Omochi perform for a video program on the website at Aqua Park Shinagawa during a media preview in Tokyo April 30, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)


Indonesia confirmed on Friday 433 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases to 10,551, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto reported eight new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 800, while 1,591 people have recovered.

Indonesia has tested more than 76,500 people for the virus.


The Israeli Ministry of Health reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 16,004.

The number of victims increased from 222 to 223, after a 62-year-old man died at Poriya Hospital in northeastern Israel.

According to the ministry, the number of patients in serious condition remained at 105, out of 322 patients currently hospitalized, while the number of recoveries increased by 197, reaching 8,758.


Japan needs to keep its coronavirus containment policies in place until the number of cases falls more, experts said on Friday, with the government set to decide on whether to maintain a state of emergency.

The nationwide state of emergency is set to expire on May 6 and the government is planning to extend the emergency for about a month, sources have told Reuters.

The Japanese government has called for vigilance during the long Golden Week holiday - normally a peak travel period - that runs through May 6, calling on people to stay home and reduce contact with others.

Coronavirus cases in Japan increased by 188 to 14,305, according to the most recent figures from the health ministry and local authorities released late Thursday evening.


Kyrgyzstan reported 10 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing its tally to 756.

The newly infected patients included three medical workers, and so far a total of 198 medical workers have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, Ainura Akmatova, head of the public health department of the Health Ministry, said at a news briefing.

A total of 244 patients are currently in hospitals across the country, 874 people are under observation, and 3139 contacts of COVID-19 patients have been tracked, Akmatova said.


Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Friday that a large portion of economic and social activities will be allowed following the recent decline of the COVID-19 cases in the country.

However, economic, social and religious activities involved large gatherings and close contact are still not allowed, and all schools will remain closed for the time being, he said in a televised address to the country.

Malaysia reported 69 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 6,071. The number of fatalities rose by one to 103.


Over 100 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by health authorities in Maldives on Thursday as the country's total case count shot up to 396, according to data from the Ministry of Health.

A total of 107 new cases of COVID-19 were confirmed by authorities, most of whom were foreign nationals working in the country. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) said that the foreigners who tested positive were "in isolation at a vulnerable house placed under police surveillance."

A Turkish woman pays for food at a market in Ankara, Turkey, April 30, 2020, just hours before the start of a three-day curfew declared by the government in an attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus. (PHOTO / AP)

New Zealand

New Zealand reported three new confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with the total number of confirmed and probable infections standing at 1,479 in the country, the Ministry of Health said on Friday.

Among the three new cases, one linked to overseas travel, one was related to an existing case, and the third was under investigation, Director of Public Health Caroline McElnay told a press conference.

There is no more death reported as the COVID-19 death toll remained at 19 in the country, McElnay said.


Qatar's Health Ministry on Thursday announced 845 new COVID-19 cases, raising the total number of confirmed cases in the Gulf state to 13,409.

Most of the new cases are foreign workers who have been subject to quarantine after they were found to have been in contact with the previously confirmed cases, the Qatar News Agency quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.

Meanwhile, 129 people recovered from the disease, bringing the tally of recoveries in the country to 1,372.

ALSO READ: After aggressive mass testing, Vietnam says virus contained


The speaker of Pakistan’s National Assembly said late on Thursday that he had tested positive for COVID-19, after hosting an iftar dinner to celebrate Ramadan, and meeting Prime Minister Imran Khan and other high officials earlier in the week.

It is not immediately known if Khan will be tested, but he was checked in April, and tested negative, after meeting with the head of Pakistan’s biggest charity organisation, who was subsequently confirmed to have caught the disease.

The National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, is currently in recess, though opposition parties have been calling for it to convene to discuss the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, where the number of cases has risen to 16,817, including 385 deaths.


Thailand reported six new coronavirus cases and no new death on Friday, taking its tally to 2,960 infections while fatalities remained at 54 since the outbreak began in January.

New daily infections have stayed in the single digits for five consecutive days. The six cases also marked the lowest new daily infections since early March.

Thailand’s Ministry of Justice has on Thursday extended its ban on visits to prisoners for another month, until May 31.

The extension corresponds with the government's extension of the state of emergency for another month to control the spread of COVID-19, confirmed Narat Svetanan, director-general of the Ministry’s Corrections Department.

The Philippines

The number of coronavirus cases across the Philippines continued to increase with 284 new cases reported by the Department of Health (DOH) on Friday, bringing the national total to 8,772.

The DOH also reported 11 new deaths from the coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the country's fatalities to 579.

According to the DOH, the country now has 1,084 recoveries after 41 more patients have recovered from the highly infectious disease.

A mask-wearing man inspects stalls at a wet market in downtown Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, April 24, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)


The Turkish plans to relax the drastic COVID-19 restrictions in late May should be done in phases to prevent a new wave of infections, experts and officials said.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Thursday confirmed 2,615 new COVID-19 cases and 93 more deaths in Turkey.

The total number of confirmed cases in Turkey has increased to 120,204, while the death toll surged to 3,174, Koca tweeted.

A total of 48,886 patients have recovered from COVID-19, while 1,514 are being treated at intensive care units and 803 are intubated, the minister said.