SIA cabin crew who is part-time Grab driver is sole community COVID case, 5 new infections

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
SINGAPORE - DECEMBER 24: People wearing protective mask walk past Christmas decorations along the Orchard Road shopping belt on December 24, 2020 in Singapore. As Singapore prepares to further ease COVID-19 restrictions from December 28, the government reported its first COVID-19 case carrying the potentially more contagious strain of the virus circulating in the United Kingdom yesterday. As of 24 December, the Ministry of Health confirmed 13 new imported COVID-19 cases in the wider community bringing the country's total to 58,495. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
People walking along Orchard Road on 24 December, 2020. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed the detection of five new cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore as of noon on Monday (28 December), taking the country’s total case count to 58,529.

Of them, one is classified as a community case – the first since 21 December – and four others are imported.

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

Monday’s sole local transmission, currently unlinked, is a 48-year-old Singaporean man who works as a cabin crew with Singapore Airlines and a part-time private hire car driver with Grab.

He is asymptomatic and was detected through proactive testing arranged by the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore of aircrew who had returned from overseas flights, said the MOH.

He recently travelled to the US for work from 12 to 16 December on a controlled itinerary.

The man was tested on 23 December, but his test result came back inconclusive two days later, necessitating another test, said the MOH. The cabin crew on the same US flight as the man have all tested negative for COVID-19 on 23 December.

A second test conducted on 25 December was also inconclusive, it added, noting that the man had remained at home while awaiting further tests.

His swab on Sunday came back positive and he was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on the same day.

“His serological test result is negative, which indicates a likely current infection,” said the MOH.

“Given the relatively long time interval between his travel and positive COVID-19 test, we have classified this case as locally transmitted while epidemiological investigations are in progress,” it added.

All of the man’s identified close contacts, including his family members and co-workers, have been isolated and quarantined. They 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.

Of the four imported cases, three are Singaporeans who returned from India, Myanmar and the UK. The fourth case is a dependant’s pass holder who arrived from India.

All of them were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were tested while serving the notice or under isolation, said the MOH.

Separately, YuCun Claypot Curry Fish Head at 147 Upper Paya Lebar Road was added by the MOH to the list of public places visited by community cases during their infectious period. The restaurant was visited on 18 December from 1.25pm to 2.25pm.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 16 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Monday, 58,386 cases – or 99.8 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 35 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none are in the intensive care unit.

A total of 79 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.

The MOH on 23 December confirmed the city-state’s first case infected with a new variant of the novel coronavirus that is spreading rapidly in the UK. Eleven others have tested preliminarily positive for the B.1.1.7 strain.

Singapore entered Phase 3 of reopening on Monday.

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