3 previously reported COVID-19 cases positive for B117 strain, could be linked: MOH

3 previously reported COVID-19 cases positive for B117 strain, could be linked: MOH

A general view shows the facade of Jewel, along with a walkway linking it to the various terminals
FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the facade of Jewel, along with a walkway linking it to the various terminals in Changi Airport in Singapore, Apr 11, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Feline Lim)

SINGAPORE: Three previously reported COVID-19 cases have tested positive for the new B117 variant and could be linked, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (Jan 26).

"Whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory have revealed that three previously reported cases (Cases 59028, 59340 and 59351) have tested positive for the B117 variant, and could be linked," MOH said.

On Jan 5, Case 59028, a work permit holder who works at Azur at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport was confirmed to have COVID-19. The 24-year-old man from South Korea delivers pre-packed meals to air crew and hotel guests as part of his job. He does not interact with diners at the restaurant, said the health ministry then.

Another person, Case 59340, who is a Singaporean and works at the Singapore Scouts Association was confirmed to have COVID-19 on Jan 15.

Case 59351, the spouse of Case 59340, was diagnosed on the same day as well. She works at OCBC Tampines Centre One. 

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Epidemiological investigations revealed that Cases 59340 and 59351 visited Jewel Changi Airport on Dec 31 between 2.35pm and 9.50pm, while Case 59028 was at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on the same day between 7.48pm and 8.49pm, said MOH. 

As a precautionary measure, a special testing operation will be offered to staff members who had worked from Dec 31 at Jewel Changi Airport, and at the public shops and food establishments at Changi Airport Terminal 3, the ministry added.

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The B117 strain was first reported in the UK in late November last year and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson had said the strain could be “up to 70 per cent more transmissible”.

MOH announced on Dec 22 that long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to Britain will be barred from entering or transiting through Singapore from Dec 23.

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Source: CNA/kv(ta)

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