30 new COVID cases in S'pore; 4 in community including boy, 8, linked to police para-vet cluster

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·8-min read
SINGAPORE - JANUARY 10: People wearing protective masks cross a street in the rain on January 10, 2021 in Singapore. As of January 10, the Ministry of Health confirmed 42 new imported COVID-19 cases, with zero cases in the wider community bringing the country's total to 58,907. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
People wearing protective masks cross a street in the rain on 10 January, 2021, in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 30 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Tuesday (19 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,157.

There are four cases in the community, while the remaining 26 are imported. This marks the sixth day in a row where new community infections are reported.

“Amongst the new cases today, 23 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while seven were symptomatic,” said the MOH.

Of the four new community cases, three are linked. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing and all identified close contacts of the community cases, including their family and household members, as well as co-workers, have been isolated and quarantined and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period.

Serological tests will also be conducted for the close contacts to determine if the case could have been infected by them.

8-year-old boy linked to police para-vet cluster

Among the new community cases is the eight-year-old son of the 44-year-old Singaporean man who works as an administrative officer at the Singapore Police Force's K-9 Unit at its headquarters at 2 Mowbray Road.

The Singaporean boy is a student at Chua Chu Kang Primary School, and had last gone to school on 15 January. He was identified as a close contact of his father on 16 January and was quarantined.

He was swabbed on the same day and his result came back negative for COVID-19. “There is, therefore, no risk of transmission to the students he had contact with previously,” said the MOH.

However, the boy developed a fever on 17 January while he was in quarantine, and was tested again at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. This test came back positive for COVID-19.

His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection, added the ministry.

On Monday, the boy’s mother, a 43-year-old Singaporean woman and homemaker, and a family member, a 66-year-old Malaysian woman, were confirmed as cases. Both did not seek medical treatment after developing COVID-19 symptoms.

The boy’s father and another family member, a 44-year-old Singaporean woman, were confirmed as cases on Sunday. Both cases also did not seek medical treatment after developing symptoms.

They were identified as being linked to a 32-year-old Singaporean man who works as a para-veterinarian at the Singapore Police Force's K-9 Unit at its headquarters. The para-vet himself was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 13 January and his wife was also confirmed to have the coronavirus disease two days later.

The “case 59280” cluster, named after the para-vet’s case number, now has seven cases linked to it.

Two linked to new ‘case 59343’ cluster

Two community cases are linked to form the “case 593431” cluster of three infections, named after the number assigned to a 33-year-old male Chinese national who works at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 15 January.

They are his co-worker and housemate, a 31-year-old Chinese male national, and his spouse, a 48-year-old Chinese female national. Both are work permit holders.

The man works as a food processing worker at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing at 30 Senoko South Road and had been identified as a close contact of his older compatriot.

The woman works as a food processing worker at Soon Lee Heng Satay Foodstuff Manufacturer at 15 Woodlands Loop and had been identified as a close contact of her husband.

Both were quarantined on 15 January and tested two days later. Their results came back positive for COVID-19 the next day.

They were subsequently conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Both their serological test results have come back negative, indicating that they are likely current infections.

Sales personnel sole unlinked community case

The remaining community case, currently unlinked, is a 39-year-old male Singapore permanent resident who works as a sales personnel at BS Industrial & Construction Supply at 34 Kallang Place.

He developed a fever on 16 January. The man sought medical treatment at a polyclinic two days later, where he was tested for COVID-19 as part of the enhanced community testing regime to test all individuals aged 13 and above who are diagnosed with acute respiratory infection at first presentation to a doctor.

His test result came back positive for COVID-19 on the same day, and he was conveyed to the NCID in an ambulance.

His serological test result has come back negative, indicating a likely current infection.

The MOH said the number of new cases in the community has increased from six in the week before to 14 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from four in the week before to five cases in the past week.

Three more locations were added to the list of public places recently visited by COVID-19 cases in the community while infectious: Church of Singapore at 145 Marine Parade Road, ZARA outlet at Marina Square, and Happy Café at Gain City Megastore @ Sungei Kadut. They were visited on 16 January (4.40pm to 6.40pm), 17 January (1.35pm to 3.15pm), and 17 January (7.40pm to 8.25pm) respectively.

Education Minister and COVID-19 taskforce co-chair Lawrence Wong on Monday night said the government is monitoring the COVID-19 situation carefully and considering if additional measures are necessary to ensure it remains under control amid a rise in community cases in recent days.

“Unfortunately, there were also several recent cases who did not seek medical treatment despite falling ill with flu-like symptoms,” added Wong in a post on his Facebook page.

26 imported cases including Singaporean who did not report symptoms while on SHN

Four of the 26 new imported cases are Singaporeans and three are permanent residents who returned from Indonesia, Ireland, Myanmar, and the UK.

One of the infected Singaporeans is a 28-year-old woman who returned from Ireland on 3 January and was placed on the stay-home notice at a dedicated facility.

Her swab done on 14 January during the notice was negative for COVID-19. The woman developed a dry throat later that day, and cough on 16 January but did not report her symptoms.

Her notice ended on 17 January and she sought medical treatment the next day at the National University Hospital where she was tested for COVID-19. Her result came back positive on the same day.

Two other imported cases are student’s pass holders who arrived from Bulgaria and Malaysia, while another is a work pass holder who arrived from the United Arab Emirates.

The remaining sixteen cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, and Indonesia, of whom three are foreign domestic workers.

One of the infected work permit holders arrived from Bangladesh on 28 December last year and served his notice at a dedicated facility until 11 January.

His swab done on 8 January during the notice was negative for COVID-19, and subsequent tests on 12 and 14 January were also negative.

His test on 17 January came back positive for COVID-19, although the Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load. His serological test result also came back positive.

“Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported. He is likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others,” said the MOH.

All 26 imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving their notices.

99% of total cases have recovered, none in ICU

With 26 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Tuesday, 58,894 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 45 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 189 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 29 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.

Stay in the know on-the-go: Join Yahoo Singapore's Telegram channel at http://t.me/YahooSingapore

Other Singapore stories:

Pilots for reopening of nightclubs, KTV outlets deferred amid more community cases

SICC chairman: Over 99% of companies in Singapore 'hire fairly'

More COVID-19 measures may be necessary as community cases rise: Lawrence Wong

COVID-19: Over 10,000 maritime staff to be vaccinated by end-January – MPA