Second reported local COVID-19 case who tested 'preliminarily positive' for new B117 strain

Second reported local COVID-19 case who tested 'preliminarily positive' for new B117 strain

crowne plaza changi airport 3
File photo of the lobby lounge at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport. (Photo: Facebook/Crowne Plaza Changi Airport)

SINGAPORE: A 20-year-old Singaporean man who works at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is on Friday (Jan 8) the second reported local COVID-19 case who tested preliminarily positive for the new B117 strain.

He is also the third person working at the Azur restaurant in the hotel who tested positive for the coronavirus in the last week. 

The man, known as Case 59084, delivered pre-packed meals to air crew members and hotel guests - the same duties that the other two cases linked to the restaurant carried out. The Ministry of Health (MOH) said he did not interact with diners at the restaurant. 

READ: Singapore reports 23 new COVID-19 cases, including 2 in the community

The Singaporean's earlier rostered routine tests, the last being on Jan 1, had returned negative for the coronavirus. 

He was identified as a close contact of Case 59028, a 24-year-old man from South Korea who was the first reported local case with the B117 strain, and was placed on quarantine on Jan 5. 

The man developed acute respiratory infection symptoms on Jan 7 and was swabbed. His test came back positive for COVID-19 infection, and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance, said the ministry.

His serological test result came back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection, said MOH.

The ministry added that Case 59084 has "tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain, and is pending further confirmatory tests". 

MOH previously said on Dec 23 that there is "currently no evidence that the B117 strain is circulating in the community".

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing. 

All identified close contacts of Case 59084, including family members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine. They will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period in order to detect asymptomatic cases, said MOH.

Serological tests for the close contacts will also be conducted to determine if the case could have been infected by them.

INVESTIGATIONS INTO CASES

The ministry said it has commenced "special testing operations" to test 234 staff members working at the hotel. 

So far, 233 people were swabbed and 129 came back negative for COVID-19 infection. 

"104 test results are pending. We are facilitating testing for the remaining staff," said MOH. 

READ: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel to close for 14 days as MOH investigates unlinked COVID-19 cases

MOH announced on Thursday that Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel will be closed for two weeks from Jan 8 as a "precautionary measure".

Restaurant and event spaces in the hotel will also be closed. Deep cleaning and disinfection will be carried out during the closure.

"From our preliminary investigations, we cannot exclude that transmissions could have occurred at the hotel," MOH said.

B117 STRAIN 

On Dec 24, MOH said a 17-year-old woman who had been studying in the UK from August had returned to Singapore on Dec 6 and tested positive for the B117 strain. 

A Singapore Airlines pilot also preliminarily tested positive for the B117 strain, MOH had said on Dec 30.

Eleven others have also preliminarily tested positive for the same strain. 

A total of 15 people have now preliminary tested positive for the B117 strain in Singapore.

THREE COVID-19 CLUSTERS IN SINGAPORE

There are now three COVID-19 clusters in Singapore, including one involving bunker tanker NewOcean 6 which has nine cases.

There is a family cluster involving a 55-year-old harbour pilot whose infection was detected through rostered routine testing of workers in the construction, marine and process sectors on Dec 28.

Three of his family members were later confirmed to have COVID-19 - a 79-year-old woman, a 50-year-old man, as well as a 52-year-old woman who initially did not get tested for the coronavirus despite a doctor's advice to do so.

The third cluster of four cases involved two Raffles Girls' School (RGS) students. The first student is a family member of a marine surveyor at Lloyd's Register Singapore who tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec 29. 

The girl was confirmed to have the coronavirus on Dec 31, along with a 46-year-old woman in the same household.

The second RGS student tested positive on Dec 31, after she had visited the first girl at her home for a few hours on Dec 27 when the marine surveyor was present.

A total of 23 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore on Friday, bringing the total number of cases to 58,836. 

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Source: CNA/ic(ta)

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