24 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore; wife of police para-vet among 4 community infections

24 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore; wife of police para-vet among 4 community infections

People wearing face masks are seen at the Chinatown MRT
People wearing face masks are seen at the Chinatown MRT station in Singapore on Jan 5, 2021. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 24 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Saturday (Jan 16), with five locally transmitted infections.  

Of the five, four are in the community and one is a resident of a migrant workers' dormitory. 

The remaining 19 cases are imported and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

SINGAPOREAN COUPLE AMONG COMMUNITY CASES 

One of the community cases is a 39-year-old Singaporean man who works at the Singapore Scouts Association in Bishan, handling mainly administrative work in the office. 

He is also a part-time bus driver with Westpoint Transit, travelling specific routes for Cameron (Singapore) and GlaxoSmithKline Tuas. 

He had not gone to work after onset of symptoms, said MOH.

The man developed a fever on Jan 11 and sought treatment from a general practitioner via teleconsultation, and again at a polyclinic on Jan 13 where he was tested for COVID-19.

His infection was confirmed on Jan 15 and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His serological test result is negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection. 

The man's wife, a 39-year-old Singaporean, also tested positive on Jan 15.

She developed acute respiratory infection symptoms on Jan 13 and visited a general practitioner clinic the next day. She was referred to a polyclinic to take a COVID-19 test on the same day.

Her serological test result is pending. 

The woman is an administrative officer at OCBC Tampines Centre One but does not interact with customers. Her last day at work was on Jan 8, before the onset of symptoms. 

WIFE OF PARA-VET

Following the case of a Singapore Police Force para-veterinarian who tested positive on Wednesday, his wife was also confirmed to have COVID-19.

The 28-year-old Singaporean, who is a Prison Staff Officer, had already been placed on quarantine after being identified as his close contact.

She developed symptoms on Jan 14 and tested positive the next day. Her serological test result is negative.

According to MOH, she does not interact with inmates. "Due to workplace safe management measures, she has mainly been working from home during this period," it added.

WORK PERMIT HOLDER INITIALLY TESTED NEGATIVE

The remaining community case is a 33-year-old Chinese national who works as a food processing worker at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing at Senoko South Road. 

The work permit holder developed a cough on Jan 7. He was swabbed at a general practitioner clinic but the test result came back negative on Jan 8.

He was at home on medical leave between Jan 7 and 12 and went back to work on Jan 13. 

However, he developed a fever on Jan 14 and sought medical treatment at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital where he was again tested for COVID-19. The test result returned positive on Jan 15 and he was taken to NCID. 

His serological test result is negative.

DORMITORY CASE

The case in the dormitory involved a 37-year-old Indian national whose infection was detected through rostered routine testing on Jan 14.

The work permit holder lives in Tuas South Dormitory and works at Chevron Oronite as a thermal insulator installer. 

His earlier tests from routine testing – the last being on Dec 17 - were negative for COVID-19 infection.




IMPORTED CASES

Among the 19 imported cases, one is a Singapore permanent resident who returned from India. 

Three are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from the UAE and India, while two are student's pass holders who travelled from India and France. 

There are five work pass holders who arrived from India, Japan, Spain and the UAE, and a short-term visit pass holder who travelled from Myanmar for a job placement. 

A sea crew who arrived from Brunei onboard a vessel also tested positive. He had not disembarked from the ship before he was taken to hospital, said MOH.

The remaining six are work permit holders from India and Myanmar, of whom three are foreign domestic workers.

Two of the work permit holders who arrived from India on Dec 25 tested negative three times, after swabs were done on Jan 5, 9 and 11.

Both had served stay-home notice at dedicated facilities until Jan 8. 

Their latest test on Jan 14 came back positive, said MOH, adding that their Ct values were very high, which indicate low viral loads.

Their serological test results also came back positive.

"Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified these cases as imported," said MOH.

"They are likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others."

RECOVERIES

Thirteen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, taking the total recoveries to 58,784.

There are 54 cases in hospital. No one is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 216 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19. 

As of Saturday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,083 COVID-19 cases.



"The recent locally transmitted cases are a stark reminder that we cannot afford to let our guard down," said MOH. 

"We must continue to keep up our discipline in adhering to the safe management and safe distancing measures, so as to avoid an uncontrolled resurgence of cases that may necessitate a tightening of measures."

READ: Eateries at Canberra Plaza and Bishan among places visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

READ: All travellers, including Singaporeans, to take COVID-19 test upon arrival in Singapore

Earlier on Saturday, MOH announced tighter border measures to manage the risk of imported COVID-19 cases, due to the emergence of new COVID-19 variants and the worsening coronavirus situation around the world.

All travellers, including Singaporeans and permanent residents, will need to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore.

Singaporeans and permanent residents returning from the United Kingdom and South Africa will also be subject to an additional seven days of self-isolation at their place of residence following their 14-day stay-home notice period at dedicated facilities.​​​​​

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Source: CNA/kg

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