One of 10 new COVID cases in Singapore a community infection, toured Southern Islands

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·5-min read
SINGAPORE - DECEMBER 16: People wearing protective mask takes a photo with a Sanrio character', My Melody during the Sentosa's festive light-up, Island Lights with Sanrio characters at Siloso beach, Sentosa on December 16, 2020 in Singapore. As of 16 December, the Ministry of Health confirmed 12 new imported COVID-19 cases with no cases in the wider community bringing the country's total to 58,353. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
People wearing protective masks posing with Sanrio character My Melody during the Sentosa's festive light-up on 16 December, 2020 in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) detected new 10 COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Monday (21 December), taking the country’s total case count to 58,432.

Of them, one is classified as a case is in the community – the first since 5 December – while the remaining nine infections are imported.

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

The lone community case, currently unlinked, is a 39-year-old Singaporean woman who is asymptomatic and was detected when she was tested for COVID-19 before a scheduled cruise trip.

She was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases the following day, when her test came back positive.

“The National Public Health Laboratory has run further tests to verify that she is positive for COVID-19 infection. Her serological test result is pending,” said the MOH.

The woman stays at Jurong West Street 93, and had been at work at Ruising Chemicals at 18 Boon Lay Way before her test result was confirmed.

The MOH said she and her family had gone on a Southern Islands tour with two other families on 14 December, totaling 12 persons in all.

“Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been any breach of the relevant safe management measures,” said the ministry.

The MOH added that epidemiological investigations are in progress and all her identified close contacts, including her family members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine. They will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period.

Serological tests will also be conducted on her household and family contacts to determine if she could have been infected by them.

Among the nine imported cases, three are Singaporeans who returned from the UK and India.

Another three are work permit holders currently employed in Singapore who arrived from Indonesia and Myanmar, and a student’s pass holder who arrived from Myanmar.

The remaining cases are short-term visit pass holders – crew members of separate vessels which arrived from Indonesia – who had not disembarked from their ships until they were conveyed to a quarantine facility or hospital.

All imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were subsequently tested.

Eight Mandarin Orchard staff tested positive in serological test

Separately, the MOH said it has completed swab testing a total of 394 people serving their stay-home notice at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel, as well as 571 hotel staff.

This comes after the hotel on Saturday announced that it stopped accepting new guests with immediate effect, following the discovery of 13 positive cases among individuals who had served notice there between 22 October and 11 November.

Of the 394 serving their notices at the hotel, 391 tested negative while three tested positive on Sunday and were immediately conveyed to the hospital via ambulance. Those serving their notices there have been transported via dedicated vehicles to an alternative facility on Sunday.

Of the staff members, 570 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results have come back negative for COVID-19, said the MOH, adding that it is facilitating testing for the remaining individual who has yet to be PCR-tested.

It said that the serological tests of eight more staff have come back positive, indicating likely past infections, in addition to the three cases announced on Sunday.

“Epidemiological investigations of these 11 cases are in progress. In the meantime, we will test their identified close contacts as a precautionary measure, and also conduct serological tests to determine if these individuals could have been infected by them,” said the MOH.

Of the three COVID-positive individuals serving their notices at the hotel, the ministry said they are likely to be imported cases who were infected while they were overseas, given their recent travel history.

“Nevertheless, the National Public Health Laboratory will conduct whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis to determine if they could be linked to the 13 cases,” said the MOH.

Singapore is due to enter Phase 3 of reopening in a week’s time.

99% of total cases have recovered

With eight more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Monday, 58,287 cases – or 99.8 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 46 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none are in the intensive care unit.

A total of 70 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.

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