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A “double mutant” variant of Covid from India, found in Singapore

Shoppers wearing protective masks walk past the Ion Orchard Mall on Orchard Road in Singapore on Tuesday, April 13, 2021.

Laurin Ishaq Bloomberg | Getty Images

SINGAPORE – Singapore said on Tuesday that a variant of the double coronavirus mutant, first discovered in India, was found among cases transmitted locally in the city-state.

Option B.1

.617 is widely blamed for the second wave of infections in India, with a total of over 20 million cases. The World Health Organization classified it as an option of interest last week.

As of Monday, Singapore has found 10 local cases of the variant from India. Seven of these infections are in three active clusters, according to a press release from the country’s Covid task force.

“All necessary actions in the field of public health have been taken immediately to isolate and surround all cases,” the health ministry said.

“Given the possible increased susceptibility of the new variants of the virus, it is necessary to take stricter measures reflecting the increased anxiety in order to mitigate the risk of further transmission in Singapore,” it added.

Elevated rules of Kovid

Singapore has also announced tougher measures in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus in the city as local infections rise.

From Saturday, passengers arriving from countries at higher risk will have to be quarantined for 21 days compared to 14 days before.

Nationally, new restrictions will be imposed from Saturday to May 30th. Measures include restrictions on the size of social gatherings, testing before major events and closing gyms.

On Tuesday, the country announced five new cases handed over locally, all related to a cluster that began at a hospital in Singapore. There were also 12 cases during mandatory quarantines for people entering the country from abroad.

On Monday, the health ministry said the number of new cases in the community had jumped to 60 cases in the last week from 10 cases the previous week.

Details of Saturday’s local restrictions include:

  • Social gatherings should be limited to five, compared to eight before. Each household will also be able to accommodate five guests a day instead of eight.
  • No more than 50% of employees have the right to return to work at any time by 75%.
  • Pre-event tests will be required for certain gatherings, including weddings, worship services, live performances and conferences, depending on the number of attendees.
  • Indoor gyms and fitness studios will be closed.
  • Museums, public libraries and attractions to work with 50% capacity.

These measures take the city one step back in its phased opening, which began in June 2020. Singapore reported a total of 61,235 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic in the city state with 5.7 million people.

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