SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 1,457 new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, including 176 from dormitories housing foreign workers, taking the total number of cases to 81,352, the health ministry said.
The new cases also included four imported infections, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.
Of the locally transmitted cases, 1,277 were community cases and 176 cases were migrant workers staying at dormitories, the ministry said.
Eight new cases confirmed on Wednesday were from the Woodlands Dormitory, bringing its total to 54.
The dormitory for migrant workers has been added to a list of 12 large clusters currently being monitored by the MOH, it said.
It involves intra-dormitory transmission among residents with no evidence of spread beyond the dormitory, the ministry added.
All the persons have been quarantined.
Three Singaporeans have died due to COVID-19, according to media reports on Wednesday.
The fatalities included a 90-year old vaccinated woman with a history of stroke, asthma, hypertension and hyperlipidaemia.
The other two were unvaccinated men, 65 and 50.
As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 81,352 COVID-19 cases and 68 deaths from the disease.
There were also four imported cases, those who arrived from abroad, taking the daily tally to 1,457, the highest since the pandemic began early last year.
Over the last 28 days, 97.9 per cent of the local cases were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.
Health Ministry is also suspending all visits to hospital wards from September 24 as the detection of COVID-19 cases among staff, patients and visitors has put a strain on staffing and capacity at some hospitals.
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong has also assured that the Ministry of Health's (MOH) COVID-19 case management task group is doing its "best to scale up" operations and make sure all patients are well cared for.
"I know this is a stressful time for those with family members who have COVID-19. Some of you have written to me to express your frustrations, or question why MOH takes so long to get in touch after you or a loved one has tested positive," said Lee.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the task group has a "very demanding task", operating for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in a "rapidly changing situation".
"With the rise in COVID-19 cases in the community, more COVID-19 cases have been detected amongst hospital staff, patients and visitors," the MOH said.
"The detection of these cases had led to ward closures and staff quarantine which had impacted some hospitals, putting strain on hospital bed capacity and staffing at a time when more hospital beds are ramped up to care for hospitalised COVID-19 patients," the Channel News Asia reported quoting the MOH.
The tightened measures will be taken to "safeguard hospital capacity", the MOH added.
However, some patient groups will be allowed visits on a case-by-case basis as assessed by the hospital.
These include patients who are in critical condition, paediatric patients, birthing or postpartum mothers and patients requiring additional care support from caregivers.
Up to five pre-designated visitors may be allowed for patients who are in critical condition, with a maximum of two at the patient's bedside at any one time.
The other groups will be allowed only one pre-designated visitor, with one visit per day, the MOH said.
All approved visitors are required to produce a valid negative antigen rapid test (ART) or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test obtained within the last 24 hours of each visit.
The ministry also announced on Wednesday that it will implement mandatory ART testing for some "higher risk patients" at emergency departments and 24-hour emergency clinics to reduce the risk of transmission in these areas.
This comes as more COVID-19 cases are "presenting pre-symptomatically or asymptomatically", it said.
Patients presenting acute respiratory infection symptoms are currently being segregated from other patients.
The MOH added that it has increased surveillance testing frequency for hospital staff as well as vendors who work in the hospital to identify COVID-19 infections early.