No ongoing COVID-19 transmission at Mandarin Orchard, hotel can reopen: MOH

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2-min read
A view of the Mandarin Orchard hotel in Singapore, 19 December 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Chen Lin)
A view of the Mandarin Orchard hotel in Singapore, 19 December 2020. (Photo: REUTERS/Chen Lin)

SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has completed its investigation into the 13 previously reported COVID-19 cases who had served their Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

The ministry has determined that there is no ongoing transmission at the hotel and it has approved the re-opening of the facility, including its restaurant and event spaces, from Saturday (2 January) – 14 days after the hotel’s closure on 19 December.

In a news release on Friday, the MOH said that “the other COVID-19 cases who had served SHN at Mandarin Orchard Singapore were determined to be unlinked to the 13 cases”.

“All the hotel staff tested under our special testing operations tested negative for COVID-19 infection using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. The serological tests of 11 staff are positive, indicating likely past infections. These findings indicate that there is no ongoing transmission at Mandarin Orchard Singapore,” the ministry said.

As the premises have been throughly disinfected, the MOH added, there is no longer risk of transmission to hotel guests.

High genetic similarity despite having arrived from different countries

The 13 imported cases were confirmed to have COVID-19 infection between 2 November and 11 November. As part of routine laboratory surveillance, the National Public Health Laboratory conducted whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis on all COVID-19 cases.

These 13 cases were observed to have high genetic similarity, despite the cases having arrived from different countries, including Bahrain, Canada, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Netherlands, the Philippines, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, Britain and the United States. This suggests that these cases were likely infected from a similar source.

Investigations by MOH found that these 13 cases had served SHN at Mandarin Orchard between 22 October and 11 November.

“Epidemiological investigations were immediately initiated to determine if there is a potential link between these 13 cases, and to study if transmission could have occurred locally, and not from their country of origin,” the ministry said previously in a news release.

“From MOH’s preliminary investigations, we cannot exclude that transmissions could have occurred at Mandarin Orchard Singapore.”

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