SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 10 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Saturday (Jan 23), the Ministry of Health announced (MOH) in its preliminary update.

All of them were imported cases and had been placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore.

Further details will be provided later on Saturday, MOH said.

It has been exactly one year since Singapore reported its first COVID-19 case on Jan 23, 2020. The country’s total COVID-19 tally as of Saturday was 59,260 with 29 fatalities. 

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On Friday, the ministry announced tighter COVID-19 measures, given the recent rise in community cases and the possible risk of transmission during the Chinese New Year period.

From Jan 26, households will only be able to receive a maximum of eight visitors per day.

People should also limit themselves to visiting no more than two households per day as much as possible, Minister for Education Lawrence Wong announced on Friday. 

Currently, up to eight visitors are allowed in each household at any one time, with no limit on the number of homes they can visit.

READ: Rules on visiting and tossing yusheng: 7 things to note this Chinese New Year amid COVID-19

Among other safeguards for the festive season, those who choose to dine out must avoid talking loudly during their meal. 

The Chinese New Year tradition of “lohei” should be conducted without any verbalisation of the usual auspicious phrases, said Mr Wong during a COVID-19 multi-ministry task force press conference. 

Face masks must also be worn during the tossing of yusheng, in line with the current rules on wearing a mask when diners are not eating or drinking, and there should also not be any intermingling across tables.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that the stricter measures “will surely disappoint all of us looking forward to celebrate” Chinese New Year.

“But we must psychologically prepare ourselves to celebrate (Chinese New Year) differently this year,” he wrote. “Just look at the countries near and far experiencing repeated surges in cases, and you will see why we need to stay vigilant.”

Mr Lee also noted that Singapore has “struggled to cope with the unprecedented chaos and disruption to our lives” in the year since the nation’s first COVID-19 case was reported.

“Through immense effort and sacrifice, we’ve got ourselves to a stable situation. Our vaccination programme is underway, with seniors starting to get their shots next week.

“Let us continue to protect ourselves and our loved ones by adhering to all the measures,” he said.

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