4 of 10 new community cases tested prelim. positive for India COVID variant

·Editorial Team
·12-min read
People seen in Singapore's central business district on 4 May 2021. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
People seen in Singapore's central business district on 4 May 2021. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Sunday (9 May) 28 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,359.

Ten of them are locally transmitted infections in the community, of whom four, including two unlinked cases, tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and are pending further confirmatory tests.

Seven of the ten local community cases are linked.

The 18 remaining cases are imported. Sunday marks the 14th consecutive day with local cases reported.

"Amongst the new cases today, 18 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while 10 were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The ministry noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 50 cases in the week before to 39 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from 10 cases in the week before to 13 cases in the past week.

Separately, it also added several new places to the list of public locations visited by infectious COVID-19 community cases, including some eateries at Changi Airport T3, a Sheng Shiong outlet at Junction 9 and Don Don Donki at Jem.

Two of three unlinked cases prelim. positive for Indian variant

One of the unlinked cases is a 38-year-old Singaporean man who works as a private hire car driver with Grab and had not worked since the onset of his symptoms. He has tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

He developed a fever and cough on 7 May and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on the same day, where he was tested for COVID-19. His test result came back positive the next day, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to Alexandra Hospital. His serological test result is negative. 

The man resides with his girlfriend 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 test taken on 25 April was negative for COVID-19.

The second unlinked case is a 40-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a risk assessment personnel at Lendlease and has been working from home since 30 April. She has tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

She developed a fever on 7 May, and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on the same day, and was tested for COVID-19. Her test result came back positive the next day, and she was conveyed in an ambulance to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital. Her serological test result is negative. 

The third unlinked case is a 47-year-old Singaporean man who works as a landscaper at NParks. He usually works off-site and occasionally goes back to the office, but had not gone to work after the onset of his symptoms.

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

He developed a fever on 6 May night and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where he was tested for COVID-19. His test result came back positive on 8 May, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to Sengkang General Hospital. 

"His serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection," said the MOH.

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New Changi Airport T3 cleaner cluster: 4 new cases, 8 in total

A new cluster linked to eight cases was announced by the MOH on Sunday. All eight cases linked to the new cluster, the 11th active cluster in Singapore, work at Changi Airport Terminal 1 or 3.

Four cases were confirmed on Sunday while the remaining three were announced the day before.

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. 

  • T3 auxiliary police officer (fully vaccinated, prelim. positive for Indian variant)

He is a 57-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Certis Cisco as an auxiliary police officer at Changi Airport Terminal 3. His job entails maintaining crowd control and checking of travellers’ documents. The man had not gone to work since the onset of his symptoms.

He had received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 15 February, and the second dose on 8 March. The man has tested preliminarily positive for the Indian variant – or B1617 – and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The man had developed a cough on 7 May and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on the same day, where he was tested for COVID-19. His test result came back positive the next day, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to Alexandra Hospital.

His earlier tests under the rostered routine testing – the last being on 2 May – were all negative for COVID-19. His serological test result is negative, said the MOH.

  • T3 cleaner (prelim. positive for Indian variant)

She is a 51-year-old female work permit holder who is also employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 3. The woman, a colleague of the 88-year-old man, had last gone to work on 3 May. 

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

The woman had been tested on 5 May as part of the rostered routine testing regime but her pooled test result came back inconclusive, and she was tested again on 7 May.

On the same day, as she had been identified as a colleague of the older man, she was contacted by the MOH and placed on phone surveillance. 

"That night, she developed a cough and headache. On 8 May, she sought medical treatment at a polyclinic," said the MOH, adding that her test result came back positive for COVID-19 on the same day and she was conveyed in an ambulance to Gleneagles Hospital.

Her earlier tests under the rostered routine testing – the last being on 21 April – were all negative for COVID-19. Her serology test result is negative. 

  • T3 trolley handler and cleaner (fully vaccinated)

He is a 63-year-old Singaporean man who is also employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a trolley handler and cleaner deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 3 and a colleague of the 88-year-old man.

The man had received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on 22 January, and the second dose on 15 February.

He developed a sore throat on 3 May and a cough on 6 May but did not seek medical treatment. On 8 May, he developed a runny nose and sought medical treatment at a general [ractitioner clinic, where he was tested for COVID-19. 

As he had been identified as a colleague of the 88-year-old man, he was contacted by the MOH and placed on quarantine on the same day. 

The man reported his symptoms and was conveyed to a hospital for assessment. His test result came back positive for COVID-19 on 9 May and he was conveyed in an ambulance to Sengkang General Hospital. His earlier tests under the rostered routine testing – the last being on 12 April – were all negative for COVID-19. His serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

  • T3 SATS passenger escort

He is a 66-year-old Singaporean man who received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 29 January, and the second dose on 19 February.

He developed a runny nose and sore throat on 8 May and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on the same day, where he was tested for COVID-19. His test result came back positive the next day. His serological test result is pending, said the MOH.

"In view of the recent cases detected at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, the MOH has commenced a special COVID-19 testing operations for all workers in Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3, as well as Jewel Changi Airport," said the MOH.

As an added precautionary measure, Changi Airport Terminal 3 Basement 2 will be closed to the public temporarily with effect from 10 May.

Members of the public who had visited Changi Airport Terminal 3 on 3 May are advised to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit. 

"To pre-emptively mitigate any potential risk of wider, undetected community transmission, we will offer free COVID-19 testing for these individuals," said the ministry.

The MOH has strongly encouraged them to visit a Regional Screening Centre or “Swab and Send Home” (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinic from 10 May to 16 May for a free swab test. The ministry will progressively inform these individuals via SMS notification from 10 May, with information on how to book an appointment for their test, it added.

TTSH nurse cluster: 3 new cases, 43 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. The discovery of the nurse's infection had led to a lockdown of Ward 9D, and subsequently Wards 7D, 10B, and 9C.

Within the "Case 62541" cluster – named after the nurse's case number – at least nine of 43 cases had already been fully vaccinated.

The nurse was confirmed to be infected with the Indian variant of the virus on 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.

  • Ward 9D patient, 90

He is a 90-year-old Singaporean man who had been warded in TTSH Ward 9D from 23 April and was transferred to the NCID on 28 April.

He was tested for COVID-19 on 28 April, and daily between 1 May and 7 May, and all his test results were negative. On 8 May, he was tested again for COVID-19 even though he is asymptomatic, and his result came back positive this time. His serology test result is negative, said the MOH.

  • Ward 9D patient, 78

He is a 78-year-old Singaporean woman who had been warded in TTSH Ward 9D from 20 April and was discharged on 25 April. She was placed on quarantine until 9 May. 

She was tested for COVID-19 on 30 April during quarantine and her test was negative. 

On 8 May, she developed a cough and runny nose and reported her symptoms to the MOH. She was tested again and her test came back positive for COVID-19 on the same day and she was transferred to the NCID. Her serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

  • Ward 9D patient, 52

He is a 52-year-old Singaporean man who had been warded in the TTSH Ward 9D from 10 April and was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on 29 April. 

The man was discharged on 2 May and placed on quarantine until 12 May. He was tested for COVID-19 on 28 April and again on 30 April, and both results were negative. 

He developed a cough on 7 May and reported his symptom to the MOH. He was conveyed to Alexandra Hospital in an ambulance and tested for COVID-19 again on 8 May. His test came back positive on the same day and he was transferred to the NCID. His serology test result is negative, said the MOH.

18 imported cases, including 11 S'pore residents

Among the 18 imported cases, one is a Singaporean, and 10 are permanent residents – including a seven-year-old boy – who returned from India, Indonesia, and Yemen. A 44-year-old male PR who returned from India is the sole imported case who was symptomatic.

Another case is a work pass holder who arrived from Malaysia. Four others are work permit holders who arrived from Indonesia, all of whom are foreign domestic workers.

Another case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from Indonesia and has a family member who is a Singaporean.

The remaining case is a special pass holder who is a sea crew. He arrived from Malaysia on a vessel and was tested onboard without disembarking.

All 18 cases were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were tested for COVID-19.

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.

99% of total cases have recovered, 2 in ICU

With 21 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Sunday, 60,933 cases – or 99.3 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 133 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 262 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 141 confirmed cases reported from 3 to 9 May, 55 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 62 have tested negative, and 24 serology test results are pending.

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