Officials in Singapore have closed down the Marina Bay Sands casino for two weeks after discovering a Covid cluster, the newest to appear after an epidemic at a fisheries port prompted the government to reimpose cultural norms.
The Ministry Of Health announced on Thursday that 11 Covid cases had been linked to the casino owned by Las Vegas Sands Corp, triggering a decision to close the casino until August 5 for deep cleaning and to stop the virus from spreading. All employees working at the casino, which is part of a larger complex that includes a hotel, restaurants, and a high-end retail center, will be tested.
The 179 new coronavirus infections discovered on Wednesday are a fraction of the cluster at the Marina Bay Sands resort. The majority of the cases that day came from a cluster of fisheries ports, which seems to be at the center of a resurgence of illnesses detected in food markets, karaoke clubs, and now one of Singapore’s two casinos.
Singapore’s Minister Of Health, Ong Ye Kung, said the fisheries cluster caused the government to reimpose tighter controls beginning today, including a ban on dining-in and a restriction on social relationships.
Since then, smaller clusters and isolated instances have occurred in 41 Singapore food markets. Despite the fact that officials are scrambling to find the fishmongers who visited the fisheries port by providing them free testing, stores, and food shops are mostly unaffected.
Fishing fleets from Indonesia or other adjacent nations may have brought the Covid infection to the fishery port cluster, according to health officials. The viral variety revealed in the cluster is identical to infections found in patients arriving in Singapore from Indonesia, which has become Asia’s new virus hub, according to the researchers.
While Singapore’s situation is insignificant compared to the thousands of cases reported daily in Indonesia and Malaysia, the country is being closely watched as its government attempts to become Asia’s first major economy to shift away from a Covid-zero approach and instead treat the virus as endemic and more fully reopen.
Singapore first promised to ease restrictions in the second part of July, when more than half of the population has been properly immunized, and again around National Day on August 9, when it reaches the two-thirds level.
The reappearance of cases, the third this year after outbreaks at Changi Airport in May and a food market just outside the central business district in June, has increased the chances of a prolonged delay in opening Singapore’s borders.
About half of Singapore’s people have gotten two doses of vaccination, according to Minister Of Health Ong, and he expects that number to climb by a percentage point per day to around 64 % in 2 weeks. “When we review” the limits, he said in the social media post, “that will place us in a much better and robust position”.
Interior activity has been banned in Singapore, and social gatherings have been reduced from five to two individuals. In two weeks, these measures will be re-evaluated.