SINGAPORE: A 41-year-old man died from complications due to COVID-19 more than two weeks after recovering from the disease and being discharged, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Saturday (Jun 6).
The Chinese national, a migrant worker, died on Thursday and is the 25th person in Singapore - and the youngest in the country - to die from complications due to COVID-19.
Known as Case 11714, the man tested positive for the coronavirus on Apr 22. He recovered from the infection and was discharged on May 17, the health ministry said.
On Jun 4, more than two weeks after he was discharged, he collapsed and died.
The man, who was being temporarily housed on a cruise ship after being discharged, was found motionless in his cabin by his cabin mate on the morning of Jun 4, said the director of cruise at the Singapore Tourism Board, Annie Chang, in an update on Monday.
"The coroner has certified that the cause of death was massive pulmonary thromboembolism following SARS-CoV-2 infection," MOH said.
SARS-CoV-2 is the official name of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
A pulmonary embolism happens when there is a blockage in a pulmonary artery located in the lungs, according to the SingHealth website. In most cases, this blockage is caused by blood clots, it said.
The condition can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, chest pains and can be life-threatening in severe cases.
Thromboembolism is defined as the obstruction of a blood vessel by a blood clot that had become dislodged from another site in the circulation.
MOH did not provide any other information about Case 11714.
"Twenty-five (people) have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection," the health ministry added.
In response to queries from CNA, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Sunday said the worker had died on board the Superstar Aquarius cruise ship.
The ship is being used to house migrant workers who have recovered from COVID-19.
"MOM expresses our deepest condolences to the deceased’s family," said the ministry. "We have informed his family members and employer, as well as the embassy."
The ministry added it is working with the man's employer and the Migrant Workers' Centre to provide assistance to his family.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Thursday that an advisory was issued to all doctors on May 20 to be "watchful" for possible cardiovascular issues in COVID-19 patients.
About one in 1,000 COVID-19 cases in Singapore experienced “cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and blood clots”, he added in his written reply to Non-Constituency Member of Parliament Leon Perera.
COVID-19 patients who are admitted to the intensive care unit are at higher risk because they are “immobile for prolonged periods and may have multiple co-morbidities”, said Mr Gan, citing international data.
For such cases, doctors in Singapore should take “extra precautions”, including monitoring the patients’ coagulation status or the propensity for the blood to clot.
In some cases, blood thinners are used to prevent blood clots from forming.
“However, use of anti-coagulants must be weighed against the risk of bleeding, and our doctors will decide on a case by case basis,” Mr Gan said.
“As COVID-19 is a new disease, we are learning more about it as we go along. MOH will continue to monitor the emerging evidence, and work with our clinical experts to ensure the best possible care and outcomes for our COVID-19 patients,” he added.