SINGAPORE, July 14 (Reuters) – Singapore reported its highest number of local coronavirus cases in 10 months on Wednesday, after a cluster was discovered among hostesses and customers at KTV karaoke lounges.
Of the 56 new community infections, 42 were linked to the KTV outbreak, the health ministry said.
The ministry investigated infections among what it said were Vietnamese hostesses who frequented KTV lounges or clubs and offered free COVID-19 tests to anyone potentially at risk.
The first known case was a Vietnamese woman who sought medical help on Sunday, local media reported.
Singapore has yet to reopen KTV lounges and clubs, and authorities have said places where the virus has spread are functioning as food and drink outlets.
Singapore police said in a statement that they arrested 20 women on Wednesday evening, including South Koreans, Malaysians, Thais and Vietnamese, for alleged vice activities at KTV lounges.
Police also plan to step up controls and enforcement of these activities, the statement said.
Health Minister Ong Ye Kung previously warned that police would take action against offenders.
“All outlets that offer hostess services, dice games and all that very close contact has never been allowed,” he told local media, according to CNA.
“So for this to happen now has been unsettling (and) disappointing. “
Ong said there were no plans to reverse the recently relaxed restrictions due to the cluster, citing the progress of vaccinations.
Among those infected was also a cruise passenger hospitalized on Wednesday. Nearly 3,000 passengers and crew were confined to their cruise cabins, awaiting COVID-19 testing. Read more
Singapore has dealt with most of its coronavirus outbreaks quickly and imposed targeted restrictions in May aimed at slowing the spread of the Delta variant.
It aims to complete the vaccination of two-thirds of its population by August 9.
Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty and Ed Davies
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