Bukit Merah View Market COVID cluster grows to 39 cases

·Editorial Team
·5 min read
A pharmacist displays the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) antigen rapid test (ART) kits for self-testing to the media at a Watsons pharmacy in Singapore June 16, 2021.   REUTERS/Edgar Su
A pharmacist displays the coronavirus disease antigen rapid test (ART) kits for self-testing to the media at a Watsons pharmacy in Singapore on 16 June, 2021. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (16 June) confirmed 24 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 62,339.

Nineteen of them are local cases in the community. Of them, 13 – out of 16 linked cases – were added to the 115 Bukit Merah View market and food centre cluster. Including a previously unlinked case retroactively added to the cluster on Wednesday, the cluster now has 39 cases.

Wednesday marks the 52nd consecutive day with local cases reported. 

The five imported cases are two Singaporeans – including a nine-year-old boy – who returned from India and the UK as well as three work permit holders who arrived from Indonesia, all of whom are foreign domestic workers.

"Amongst the new cases today, 10 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while 14 were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The three unlinked cases in the community are:

  • an 85-year-old Singaporean woman who is a retiree

  • a 47-year-old Indonesian woman who is a foreign domestic worker

  • a 32-year-old Indonesian woman who is a foreign domestic worker (visited 115 and 116 Bukit Merah View)

Separately, an 84-year-old Singaporean woman who is a retiree is linked to the 32-year-old woman but is not considered part of an active cluster. She had also visited 115 and 116 Bukit Merah View.

The ministry noted that the number of new cases in the community has increased from 71 in the week before to 77 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from six in the week before to 19 in the past week.

Singapore currently has 46 active COVID-19 clusters.

Bukit Merah View market cluster: 13 new cases + 1 previously reported, 39 in total

The cluster was first linked to a 74-year-old Singaporean man who works at a sundry store at the market and food centre. The fully-vaccinated man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 9 June.

Only one of the 13 new cases works at the food centre, while most of the others are family members and household contacts or close contacts of previous infections in the cluster:

  • a 60-year-old Singaporean man who works as a stall vendor at the food centre (quarantined earlier, fully vaccinated)

  • a 76-year-old Singaporean man who is a retiree and frequent visitor to 115 and 116 Bukit Merah View (quarantined earlier, fully vaccinated)

  • a 71-year-old Singaporean woman who is a retiree (quarantined earlier, fully vaccinated)

  • a 63-year-old Singaporean man who is a freelance worker and frequent visitor to 115 and 116 Bukit Merah View (quarantined earlier, fully vaccinated)

  • a 38-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a stall assistant at Zhangde Primary School’s canteen (quarantined earlier, fully vaccinated)

  • a 12-year-old Singaporean girl who is a student at CHIJ St Theresa’s Convent (quarantined earlier)

  • a 33-year-old Singaporean woman who works in an administrative role at South Asia Construction and part-time at Telok Blangah Food Centre (quarantined earlier)

  • a 15-year-old Singaporean girl who is a student at Gan Eng Seng School (quarantined earlier)

  • a 69-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a stall helper at New Changi Eating House; sometimes helps out at a stall at the Bukit Merah food centre

  • a 49-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a sales coordinator at Gold Lite (visited food centre, received first dose of vaccine)

  • a 45-year-old Malaysia woman who works as a stall assistant at Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu at 56 Eng Hoon Street

  • a 64-year-old Singaporean man who is a taxi driver and frequent visitor to the food centre

  • an 82-year-old Singaporean man who is a retiree and frequent visitor to the food centre (fully vaccinated)

One case, announced to be unlinked on 14 June, has been retroactively added to the cluster. He is a 79-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by AO ServicePro as a cleaner at 375 and 376 Clementi Avenue 4. The man received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 5 June.

Finance Minister and multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) co-chair Lawrence Wong in a Facebook video post on Wednesday raised the possibility of a delay in the next stage of Singapore's re-opening, due to the growing cluster at the food centre.

With this in mind, Wong said the government is "evaluating the timeline and the scope of our second stage of opening" and, in consultation with public health experts, would announce its decision soon.

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'Case 64184' cluster: 2 new cases, 12 in total

The cluster is named after the case number of a 27-year-old male India national who works as an engineer at Ecoxplore and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 12 June.

The two new additions had been quarantined earlier:

  • a 50-year-old Singaporean man who is employed as a part-time housekeeper at Eunike Living (fully vaccinated)

  • a 26-year-old Malaysian woman who works as a waitress at Common Man Stan

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 20 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 61,931 cases – or 99.3 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 146 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one of them is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 228 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 34 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 116 confirmed cases reported from 10 to 16 June, 45 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 62 have tested negative, and nine serology test results are pending.

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