SINGAPORE: Sixteen community cases were among the 35 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Thursday (Apr 29).
This is the highest number of community infections in Singapore since Jul 11 last year, when 24 community cases were reported.
There are now eight active COVID-19 clusters, the largest of which is linked to a nurse at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) with nine cases in all.
The next largest cluster with eight cases is linked to an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 1. Seven of the cases are his family members, including a three-year-old boy. They had all been placed on quarantine earlier.
READ: Authorities quarantine 32 ICA officers deployed at Changi Airport who are close contacts of COVID-19 case
The boy is the ICA officer's nephew. He was last in school on Apr 22, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
"All eight had gathered for a meal on Apr 25, where transmission was likely to have taken place," said MOH.
Eight other community cases are linked to Case 62541, the nurse at TTSH.
They include a doctor, a health assistant trainee and six patients. All of them were from Ward 9D where Case 62541 worked, except one patient who had transferred from Ward 7D.
Ward 7D has now been locked down, in addition to Ward 9D.
READ: Second ward in Tan Tock Seng Hospital locked down; 2 more staff members, 6 patients positive for COVID-19
"Testing for staff and patients who have been in both wards is still in progress. All close contacts of the cases, including patients, visitors and staff who have been in the affected wards, will also be placed on quarantine," said MOH.
No visitors will be allowed into the hospital except for critically ill patients.
"Elective cases will be deferred except for those that are urgent, and A&E cases that are non-life-threatening will be redirected to other hospitals," MOH added.
READ: Tan Tock Seng Hospital to redirect some A&E cases to other hospitals after COVID-19 cluster emerges
UNLINKED COMMUNITY CASE
The remaining community case, which is unlinked, is a 39-year-old Vietnamese woman who works as a cleaner.
She is employed by Octo Jet Building Maintenance Services and was deployed at a community care facility at Tuas South.
Listed as case 62553, MOH said she wears full personal protection equipment (PPE), including N95 mask, face shield, gown and gloves at work.
"She also periodically helps out at a food stall at The Summit located at the National University of Singapore’s Bukit Timah campus," said the ministry.
She is asymptomatic and was detected when she was swabbed on Apr 26 as part of rostered routine testing. Her pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day, and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.
An individual test was done on Apr 27 and her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection.
Her earlier tests from rostered routine tests – the last being on Apr 14 – were all negative for COVID-19 infection.
"Her serology test result has come back positive but we have assessed that this is likely a recent infection," said MOH.
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She received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 27 and the second dose on Feb 19.
"The COVID-19 vaccine is effective in preventing symptomatic disease for the vast majority of those vaccinated, but it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get infected," MOH added.
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from 10 in the week before to 28 in the past week. Unlinked cases in the community have also increased from five cases in the week before to seven cases in the past week.
"We will continue to closely monitor these numbers, as well as the cases detected through our surveillance programme," said MOH.
19 IMPORTED CASES
Nineteen of the new cases were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore.
They include two Singaporeans and nine permanent residents who returned from India and South Korea.
Three are dependant's pass holders who arrived from India and Sri Lanka.
The remaining five imported infections involve work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines. One of them, who arrived from the Philippines, is a foreign domestic worker.
Twenty more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, taking the total recoveries to 60,738, said MOH.
A total of 110 cases are still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving, with none in the intensive care unit.
Another 243 cases are isolated and cared for at community facilities. They have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
As of Thursday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,121 COVID-19 cases.