24 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore; cleaner at SHN facility may be source of Jem/Westgate transmission

24 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore; cleaner at SHN facility may be source of Jem/Westgate transmission

MOH locations JEM, Westgate May 17, 2021
Shopping malls Jem and Westgate. (Images: Screengrab from Google Maps)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 24 new community COVID-19 cases as of noon on Monday (May 24), with 22 linked to previous cases and two unlinked. 

Twelve of the linked cases were already in quarantine and 10 were detected through surveillance, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

There were also 12 imported cases, who were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, said the ministry. No new cases were reported in migrant workers' dormitories. 

In all, Singapore reported 36 new COVID-19 cases on Monday.

JEM/WESTGATE CLUSTER 

Investigations have found that an earlier case - a cleaner who works at Park Avenue Rochester, a stay-home notice dedicated facility - may have been the source of infection of the Jem/Westgate cluster, said MOH.

Identified as Case 62933, the cleaner had been to Westgate on May 6. She tested positive for COVID-19 on May 7.

"Whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory have revealed that some of the visitors to Jem and Westgate have similar sequences to that of Case 62933," said MOH.

Further investigations into the mode of transmission are ongoing.

MOH on Monday listed six new cases linked to the Jem/Westgate cluster, comprising two Singapore Polytechnic students, an administrative employee at ST Electronics (Jurong East), a delivery worker who frequently delivered goods at Westgate, a waiter at Pizza Hut at Westgate and another woman, who is currently unemployed.

The Jem/Westgate cluster now has 50 people linked to it, said MOH.

jem westgate cluster may 25

"In view of the additional cases detected, free COVID-19 testing will be extended to all individuals who had visited Jem and Westgate from May 10 to May 22," said MOH. The ministry had previously offered free testing for those who had visited the malls between May 10 and May 14.

READ: 50 COVID-19 cases linked to Jem/Westgate cluster, free testing extended to those who visited from May 10-22

READ: 2 Singapore Polytechnic students linked to Jem/Westgate cluster test positive for COVID-19

MCDONALD'S DELIVERY RIDERS CLUSTER 

Five more cases have been linked to the McDonald's delivery riders cluster, including two Pizza Hut delivery riders for outlets at Punggol Plaza and Havelock II. 

Case 63629 is a 31-year-old Malaysian who was identified as a close contact of two previous cases, Cases 63534 and 63535. Both cases were delivery riders for IVIC Logistic and McDonald’s. 

Case 63629, who worked for the Punggol Plaza outlet, developed flu-like symptoms on May 21 and sought medical treatment at a GP clinic on the same day, where he was tested for COVID-19.

His antigen rapid test (ART) came back positive on May 22, and he was immediately isolated. His polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test came back positive on May 23.

The other delivery rider is a 34-year-old Malaysian who had been identified as a close contact of Case 63629. He was placed on quarantine on May 22 and tested positive the next day. He worked for the Havelock II outlet.

The remaining three cases all work part-time at Pizza Hut at Punggol Plaza. 

They include a 15-year-old Singaporean student at Peicai Secondary School. He had last gone to school on May 4 and tested positive on May 23. The teenager, who worked in the kitchen, developed a cough on 20 May but did not seek medical treatment. He underwent both an ART and PCR test on May 23, and both test results came back positive the same day. He developed a fever on the same day.

There is also a 16-year-old Singaporean student at Greendale Secondary School who had last gone to school on May 17. He is asymptomatic, and was detected when he went to a GP clinic for a COVID-19 test on May 23 after being encouraged to do so by his employer.

He was later placed on quarantine on May 23 evening after being identified as a close contact of the 15-year-old boy. He tested positive on May 24. 

The fifth case is an 18-year-old Singaporean who works in the kitchen at Pizza Hut Punggol Plaza and is also a part-time delivery worker with Grab and Deliveroo. He developed a sore throat and loss of taste on May 23 and tested ART positive for COVID-19 the same day at a clinic. He had received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on May 11.

The cluster now has 10 cases linked to it.

In response to CNA's queries, a spokesperson from Pizza Hut Singapore said that its outlets at Punggol Plaza, Westgate Mall and Havelock are currently closed for two weeks as a precaution to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus. 

The three outlets have undergone deep cleaning and the company is extending support to all affected workers. 

READ: Jem, Westgate tenants brace themselves for higher costs amid mandatory two-week closure

READ: COVID-19 breath test gets provisional authorisation in Singapore, to undergo trial at land checkpoint

CHANGI PRISON CLUSTER

Another inmate at Changi Prison has tested positive for COVID-19. The 51-year-old Singaporean man had been identified as a close contact of Case 63160, who is employed by SATS Food Services as a cook at Changi Prison Complex. 

The inmate was placed on quarantine on May 13 and was tested for COVID-19 four times between May 13 and May 21 and his test results were all negative. He tested positive on May 24.

The cluster is now linked to 11 cases.

LEARNING POINT CLUSTER

A 38-year-old teacher at Maha Bodhi School and an 8-year-old student at Yu Neng Primary School have been linked to the Learning Point cluster. 

The teacher, identified as Case 63663, is a family member and household contact of Case 63184 and was placed on quarantine on May 13. She was fully vaccinated.

Case 63184 is a 9-year-old Singaporean boy who is a student at St Stephen’s School and attended classes at Learning Point located at Parkway Centre. 

The 8-year-old girl, Case 63667, is a classmate of a student who had attended classes at Learning Point located at Parkway Centre and was placed on quarantine on May 16.

She tested negative on May 18, but had a fever and sore throat on May 23 and subsequently tested positive.

The Learning Point cluster is linked to 30 cases.

READ: Changi Airport to segregate workers based on COVID-19 exposure risk

READ: 14 COVID-19 cases who worked in highest-risk areas at Changi Airport visited Terminal 3 food court

2 UNLINKED CASES 

Two 31-year-old men were the only unlinked cases reported on Monday: An India national who works as an engineer at Hiap Seng Engineering and a Singaporean who works as a property agent with ERA Realty Network. Both tested positive on May 23. 

MOH Number of Community Unlinked and Linked Cases May 24
This chart incorporates re-classifications of earlier reported cases. (Image: Ministry of Health)

OTHER CASES 

One more case - an Indonesian foreign domestic worker who visited Ward 9D - has been linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster. 

She was placed in quarantine on Apr 30 and tested for COVID-19 on May 3. The test result came back negative. As she was identified as a household contact of a previous case, her quarantine was extended to May 8.

She was tested again on May 22 and her test came back positive the next day. Her serology test result is pending.

A two-year-old boy who is a student at Heart Field Kindergarten and had last gone to school on May 14 is the latest case in the Case 63236 cluster. Case 63236 is a 53-year-old Singaporean man who works as a personal chauffeur. The boy was quarantined on May 14 after being identified as a close contact of the chauffeur.

Another case - a 47-year-old Singaporean man who is unemployed - has been linked to an investment banker at DBS. He is the woman's family member. 

One case - Case 63654 - has been linked to the Case 63515 cluster. Case 63515 is a 34-year-old Singaporean man who works as a technician at Singapore Refining Company. Case 63654, a 57-year-old Singaporean man, is his family member and works as a cleaner at Mencast Marine. 

Case 63654 received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Apr 25 and the second dose on May 16. 

Other linked cases include a 28-year-old engineer at Takenaka Corporation, a 30-year-old cleaning supervisor employed by Hong Ye Group at Changi Business Park and a 54-year-old homemaker. All three are Singaporeans.

READ: 11 firms fined for not ensuring work-from-home as default arrangement; authorities to increase workplace inspections

READ: 'Some flexibility' for autonomous universities to admit more students amid COVID-19: Chan Chun Sing



IMPORTED CASES 

Of the 12 imported cases, three are Singaporeans and two are permanent residents who returned from India and the United States.

Three imported cases are short-term visit pass holders, including one who arrived from the Philippines to visit a family member who is a permanent resident and another who arrived from Malaysia for matters related to her Singapore permanent resident status. The third was already receiving medical care in Singapore and had arrived from Indonesia for further treatment. 

Another two imported cases are work permit holders who arrived from Indonesia, both of whom are foreign domestic workers. 

One case is a dependant's pass holder who arrived from Russia. 

The remaining imported infection is a special pass holder who is a sea crew member. He arrived from Vietnam on a vessel and was tested onboard without disembarking.

3 IN CRITICAL CONDITION 

Twenty-two more people have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 61,316 have fully recovered from COVID-19.

There are currently 244 cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and three are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. 

Another 268 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. 

MOH Number of Active Cases in Intensive Care Unit or Requiring Oxygen Supplementation
(Image: Ministry of Health)

In a separate update on the progress of COVID-19 testing operations at Block 559, Pasir Ris Street 51, MOH said 285 residents and visitors had been tested as of 12pm on Monday.

No one has tested positive for COVID-19 so far, added the ministry. A total of 188 people have tested negative, with 97 test results pending.

As of Monday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,860 COVID-19 cases and 32 fatalities.

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Source: CNA/jt/zl/vc

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