SINGAPORE: A new COVID-19 cluster involving three confirmed cases has been identified in Singapore, after the Indonesian maid of a Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew member and her husband tested positive for the coronavirus.
The 35-year-old domestic helper was among the seven new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Wednesday (Feb 24). She was Singapore's sole community case.
The helper has also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain and is pending further confirmatory tests.
The remaining six infections were imported cases and were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its daily update.
No new infections were reported in foreign worker dormitories.
In its update, MOH also said that it received the first shipment of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, although it has not yet been authorised by the Health Sciences Authority for use in the country.
THE COMMUNITY CASE
The Indonesian domestic worker was identified as close contact of the SIA cabin crew member and placed on quarantine on Feb 9, said MOH.
Her swab and serology tests taken on the same day were negative.
"She developed a cough on Feb 20 during quarantine, but it was not reported to MOH," the ministry said.
She was tested again on Feb 22 and her result came back positive for COVID-19 the following day.
She was subsequently taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases by ambulance.
"Her serological test result has come back positive but this is likely to be a recent infection," said MOH.
Among the six imported cases, two are work pass holders who arrived from India and Japan.
One is a work permit holder - a foreign domestic worker - who arrived from Indonesia.
There was also a student's pass holder who arrived from India for studies in Singapore.
The remaining two cases are short-term visit pass holders. One of them arrived from Sri Lanka to visit his family member who works in Singapore. The other is a sea crew member who arrived from Malaysia on a vessel. He was tested on board without disembarking.
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8 MORE CASES DISCHARGED
Another eight cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, taking the total recoveries to 59,761, said MOH.
Eighteen are still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving, with one patient in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Another 82 cases are isolated and cared for at community facilities.
As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,890 COVID-19 cases.
SINGAPORE DISCUSSING COVID-19 VACCINE CERTIFICATION WITH OTHER COUNTRIES: PM LEE
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Wednesday that Singapore is discussing the mutual recognition of COVID-19 vaccine certificates with other countries, calling it a necessary step towards resuming global travel.
Mr Lee added that there must be global cooperation so that all countries have access to the vaccine.
"The world must be united in our response to COVID-19," he said.
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"Vaccines allow us a way out of the crisis, they are now a reality. Even if each of us gears up to secure our own supplies, we must cooperate internationally so that all countries including developing ones have access to vaccines for their people," Mr Lee added.
"We are also discussing mutual recognition of vaccine certification with interested countries."
In a written parliamentary reply on Wednesday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said his ministry is engaging international counterparts and monitoring global advancements on the development and recognition of vaccination certificates.
“The adoption of digital vaccination certificates locally and globally will improve our ability to ensure that certificates presented by visitors are authentic,” Mr Gan said.