10 community cases out of 16 new COVID infections in Singapore

·Editorial Team
·14 min read
People above 70 years old wait in an observation area after getting a dose of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine at a vaccination center in Singapore January 27, 2021. REUTERS/Edgar Su
People at a vaccination centre in Singapore (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (12 May) confirmed 16 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,419.

Ten of them are local cases in the community, of whom nine, including one which is part of a newly announced cluster, are linked to previous cases. Seven of the linked cases are traced to the Changi Airport cluster

The remaining six of 16 cases are imported. Wednesday marks the 17th consecutive day with local cases reported.

"Amongst the new cases today, eight are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while eight were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The sole unlinked community case is a 33-year-old Filipino man who works as an operating theatre nurse at Sengkang General Hospital.

He had received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 19 January and the second dose on 8 February. The man has tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

He developed a runny nose on 9 May night, cough on 10 May night, and subsequently fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, and loss of taste on 11 May. 

The man was tested for COVID-19 on 10 May as part of Sengkang General Hospital’s proactive testing of staff and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 on 11 May. His serology test result is positive, said the MOH.

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New Grab driver cluster: 1 new case, 3 in total

The "Case 62969" cluster is the 12th active cluster in Singapore and was identified by authorities on Wednesday.

It is named after the case number of a 38-year-old Singaporean man who works as a private hire car driver with Grab and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 8 May. He had also tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The two other cases in the cluster are his household members, including a 72-year-old Singaporean man who is a retiree and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 11 May.

The second, and latest to be added to the cluster on Wednesday, is a 36-year-old Vietnamese woman who is a short-term visit pass holder. 

She arrived from Vietnam on 12 April and served her stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until 26 April. Her pre-departure test taken in Vietnam on 10 April was negative for COVID-19, as was a test taken on 25 April. As she had been identified as a close contact of the Grab driver, she was placed on quarantine on 8 May and tested for COVID-19 on 10 May. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day. Her serology test result is negative, said the MOH.

TTSH nurse cluster: 1 new case, 44 in total

The Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster is linked to a 46-year-old Filipino nurse who is deployed at Ward 9D, a general ward in the hospital, and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 27 April. 

Within the "Case 62541" cluster – named after the nurse's case number – at least nine cases had already been fully vaccinated.

The nurse was confirmed to be infected with the Indian variant of the virus last Tuesday, along with four others in the TTSH cluster: a fully vaccinated doctor who attended to patients in Ward 9D, and three patients of the ward aged between 57 and 79.

The TTSH cluster is the largest out of 12 active clusters in Singapore.

  • Ward 9D patient, 64

She is a 64-year-old Singaporean woman who had been warded in TTSH Ward 9D from 26 April and was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on 28 April. 

As the woman had been identified as a close contact of the nurse, she was placed on quarantine on 29 April. She was tested for COVID-19 on 26 April, 28 April, and 30 April, and the results were negative. 

She was discharged on 2 May and continues to be on quarantine. She was tested for COVID-19 on 11 May during quarantine. Her test result came back positive on the same day. Her serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection, said the MOH.

Changi Airport cluster: 7 new cases + 1 previous case linked, 26 in total

The "Case 62873" cluster is named after an 88-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 3. The fully-vaccinated man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 5 May.

The cluster, announced by the MOH on Sunday, has at least nine who have tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant, or B1617.

  • T4 IT engineer

He is a 24-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Huawei Enterprise as an IT engineer and works at Changi Airport Terminal 4. He had been at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on 28 April and 3 May. 

The man had not gone to work after the onset of symptoms.

He developed a fever on 7 May which subsided on the same day with self-medication. The next day, his fever returned at night and resolved with self-medication again. On 9 May, he sought medical treatment at a general practitioner (GP) clinic and was diagnosed with tonsilitis. 

The man developed a fever later on the same day and sought treatment at another GP clinic that evening where he was tested for COVID-19. His test result came back positive on 11 May. His serology test result is pending. said the MOH.

  • T3 ICA officer (fully vaccinated, prelim positive for Indian variant)

He is a 39-year-old Singaporean man who works as an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

The man received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 17 January and the second dose on 7 February. He has tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The man is asymptomatic and was detected when he was tested on 9 May as part of the rostered routine testing regime. His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day. 

The man was conveyed to the NCID on 10 May, and an individual test was done. His test result came back positive for COVID-19 on 11 May. 

His earlier tests under the rostered routine testing regime – the last being on 12 April – were all negative for COVID-19. His serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection, said the MOH.

  • T3 ICA officer (fully vaccinated, prelim positive for Indian variant)

The 38-year-old Singaporean woman, an ICA officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3, received her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 30 January and the second dose on 20 February.

She has also tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The woman was detected as a case when she was tested on 9 May as part of the rostered routine testing regime. Her pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day and she was conveyed to the NCID on 10 May, where an individual test was done. 

Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 on 11 May. On the same day, she developed a runny nose. Her earlier tests under the rostered routine testing regime – the last being on 15 April – were all negative for COVID-19. Her serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection, said the MOH.

  • T3 cleaner (fully vaccinated, prelim positive for Indian variant)

He is a 65-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

The man received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 25 January and the second dose on 18 February. He has tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The man developed a runny nose on 6 May but did not seek medical treatment. As he had been identified as a close contact of the 88-year-old man, he was placed on quarantine on 9 May but did not report his symptom.

He was tested for COVID-19 on 11 May during quarantine. On the same day, he developed a headache and runny nose. His test result came back positive on 11 May. His serology test result is negative, said the MOH.

  • T3 cleaner, trolley handler (fully vaccinated)

He is a 62-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner and trolley handler at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

The man received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 22 January and the second dose on 14 February.

As he had been identified as a contact of an infected colleague, he was placed on quarantine on 8 May. On 9 May, he developed a runny nose during quarantine and was tested for COVID-19 the next day. 

The man's test result came back positive on 11 May. His serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

  • T3 sales associate (fully vaccinated)

He is a 42-year-old Singaporean man who works as a sales associate at a retail store at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

The man received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 28 February and the second dose on 21 March.

He developed a cough and itchy throat on 9 May while at work and sought medical treatment at a GP clinic the next day. He was given five days’ worth of medical leave and tested for COVID-19 the next day. His test result came back positive on 12 May. His earlier tests under the rostered routine testing regime – the last being on 14 April – were all negative for COVID-19. His serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

  • T3 aviation security officer

He is a 28-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Certis Cisco as an aviation security officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3. He had not gone to work after the onset of symptoms.

He developed a fever, sore throat, and body aches on 7 May and sought medical treatment at a polyclinic the next day where he was tested for COVID-19. 

His result came back positive for COVID-19 on 11 May. His earlier tests under the rostered routine testing regime – the last being on 3 May – were all negative for COVID-19. His serological test result is pending, said the MOH.

  • NParks landscaper (previously reported case, fully vaccinated)

The MOH said that their epidemiological investigations have found that an NParks landscaper, confirmed as a case on 8 May, is linked to the Changi Airport cluster. 

The 47-year-old man had been at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on 3 and 4 May and had visited the same locations as two cases in the cluster during their infectious period. "He was likely to have been infected while he was at Changi Airport Terminal 3," said the MOH.

The man had received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 23 April and has not received his second dose.

The man's wife, a 48-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a relief school library assistant, was announced as a COVID-19 case on Tuesday. She has not been confirmed by the MOH to be linked to the Changi Airport cluster

The Changi Airport Group (CAG) announced on Thursday that all passenger terminals at Changi Airport will be closed to the public from Thursday for two weeks till 27 May. Jewel will also be closed for the same duration.

"We urge all airport workers as well as staff working in Jewel to refrain from going out except for essential work or activities for the next 14 days. They should also not be redeployed to other workplaces or outlets during this period," said the MOH.

Free COVID-19 testing will be offered for members of the public who had visited Changi Airport Terminal 3 from 3 May onwards, the ministry added.

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 62 in the week before to 49 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from seven in the week before to 12 in the past week.

It also added several new locations to a list of public venues visited by infectious community cases, including Haidilao Hot Pot and Tangs at VivoCity, a Cold Storage outlet at West Mall, an Anytime Fitness outlet in Choa Chu Kang and Changi Cycling Singapore. 

Several visits to Kopitiam at Changi Airport Terminal 3, which was already on the list prior to Wednesday, were also added.

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Six imported cases, including two S'pore residents returning from India

Among the six imported cases, one is a Singaporean and one is a permanent resident who returned from India. The 25-year-old Singaporean man returning from India is Wednesday's sole imported case who is symptomatic. 

Three others are work pass holders who arrived from Malaysia, the Philippines, and Sri Lanka.

The remaining case is a work permit holder who arrived from the Philippines and is a foreign domestic worker.

All six imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving the notice. "The arrivals from the Indian sub-continent had already come into Singapore before the restrictions on travel were imposed," said the MOH.

With effect from 11.59pm on 23 April, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to India are not allowed entry into or transit through Singapore, due to a surge in COVID-19 cases there.

The same border control measure has been extended to travellers with recent travel history to Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka with effect from 11.59pm on 1 May.

As of 3 May, there are 504 cases – 29 local cases and 475 imported – of various strains in Singapore. Of the 29, 10 have been infected with the Indian variants, including five in the TTSH cluster.

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99% of total cases have recovered, 3 in ICU

With 31 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 61,006 cases – or 99.3 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 143 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while three of them are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 239 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 31 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 15 others who tested positive for the virus were determined to have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another four, whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

Among the 151 confirmed cases reported from 6 to 12 May, 69 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 66 have tested negative, and 16 serology test results are pending.

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