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56 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in Singapore, 42 linked to KTV cluster involving social hostesses

SINGAPORE — There were 56 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases recorded on Wednesday (July 14), 42 of them linked to a rapidly growing cluster involving KTV or karaoke lounges.

56 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases in Singapore, 42 linked to KTV cluster involving social hostesses

The Ministry of Health is carrying out special testing operations for all staff members at five KTV lounges, including (clockwise from top left) Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre, Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre and Club Dolce at Balestier Point.

  • Out of 56 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, 41 are linked to the KTV cluster
  • The first case of the cluster was a Vietnamese hostess who tested positive on July 11 after she saw a doctor
  • Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the KTV lounges and the hostesses will be investigated by the police
  • He also urged people who patronised the KTV lounges and interacted with hostesses to get tested

 

SINGAPORE — There were 56 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases recorded on Wednesday (July 14), 42 of them linked to a rapidly growing cluster involving KTV or karaoke lounges. 

One of the 42 new infections linked to the KTV cluster is a passenger on a World Dream cruise ship, which had to return to dock in Singapore several hours earlier than scheduled, so that he could disembark for further tests. 

Speaking to the media on Wednesday, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the formation and growth of the KTV cluster is a “troubling and disappointing” development. 

“We knew about cases like that happening in Korea, in Hong Kong… Nightlife (means) people coming very close together, some with hostesses and leading to big clusters,” he said. “So we have never allowed such activities for more than one year.” 

“We do have potentially a very big cluster from the KTV lounges… Testing and tracing is continuing for this cluster. We do expect more numbers in the coming days,” Mr Ong added. 

Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, who is director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), said that the cluster was first discovered when a Vietnamese hostess tested positive for Covid-19 after she went to a clinic for respiratory problems on July 11. 

“We discovered that she had been a short-term visit pass holder originating from Vietnam and had frequented many KTV outlets,” he said. 

MOH's investigations uncovered more positive cases, some of whom were living in the same household as the Vietnamese hostess. 

Four Covid-19 cases were found on the first day of investigations and eight other cases were detected the next day. 

MOH had initially said there were 41 cases linked to the cluster from Wednesday's caseload, but the ministry added one more case in its update on Wednesday night.

Out of the cluster-related cases recorded on Wednesday, nine were detected among those who were in quarantine while the rest were from surveillance, Assoc Prof Mak said. 

This included the cruise passenger. 

MOH said that there were a total of 60 new Covid-19 cases confirmed on Wednesday, four of which were imported. 

Out of the 15 locally transmitted cases not related to the KTV cluster, eight were detected from people who were already quarantined and one through surveillance. Six cases have no known sources of infection. 

MOH said on Monday that it was investigating a group of Vietnamese social hostesses with Covid-19 who had frequented KTV lounges or clubs now operating as food-and-beverage (F&B) outlets. 

This includes special testing operations for all staff members of Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre, Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre and Club Dolce at Balestier Point.

MOH added that it will also extend free Covid-19 testing to members of the public who had visited the above premises, any similar lounges or clubs operating as F&B outlets, as well as those who had interacted with the Vietnamese social hostesses in any setting between June 29 and July 12.

He added that the KTV lounges and hostesses involved in the clusters will be investigated by the authorities and the police will release more information on Wednesday.

Mr Ong urged more patrons and customers at these lounges to get themselves tested. More than 100 of them have done so thus far, he added. 

He said he understands that some of these people would be worried about whether enforcement action would be taken against them if they were to get tested.

He went on to say that safe distancing regulations were enforced by MOH, instead of the police, and the ministry’s key priority is to find out who has been infected.

Patrons who have visited any of the five affected KTV lounges or similar lounges operating as F&B outlets and interacted with any of their hostesses from June 29 may book an appointment at any screening centre listed on MOH’s website. 

The KTV lounges are:

  • Club Dolce at Balestier Point

  • Wu Bistro at Golden Mile Complex on Beach Road

  • Club De Zara at Textile Centre along Jalan Sultan

  • Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre

  • Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre

“The entire testing process is confidential and your privacy is protected,” Mr Ong said. 

“Our message to you is, please come forward and get yourself tested… It’s to protect you, protect your family and your loved ones and protect your community as well.” 

For people who are uncomfortable coming forward, Mr Ong said that they should at least stay home, isolate themselves from their family and get themselves tested with an antigen rapid test kit that they may ask their family members to buy on their behalf. 

If they feel unwell anytime over the next 14 days, they should then see a doctor.

With the latest recorded cases, Singapore’s total number of coronavirus infections is now 62,804. 

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MOH Covid-19 coronavirus KTV hostesses karaoke Covid-19 testing cruise

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