30 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 1 in the community

30 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 1 in the community

COVID-19 People wearing face masks at Marine Parade Central shops (1)
People wearing face masks at Marine Parade Central on Sep 14, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 30 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Friday (Jan 15), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

There is one locally transmitted case in the community. None were in foreign workers' dormitories.

The sole community case, who is currently unlinked, is a 57-year-old Singaporean woman who is a homemaker. 

The woman, known as Case 59321, is asymptomatic, and was detected when she took a COVID-19 pre-departure test on Jan 13 in preparation for a trip to Vietnam. Her result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance.

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MOH said her polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test yielded a high Ct value, which is indicative of a low viral load. Her serological test result has also come back positive, which indicates a likely past infection.

All her close contacts, including family members, have been isolated and placed on quarantine. The health ministry said COVID-19 and serological tests will be conducted for them as well. 

ANOTHER SEA CREW MEMBER AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 29 cases are imported infections and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore.

They include a Singaporean and five permanent residents who returned from the United States, United Kingdom and India, as well as a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from India.

Thirteen are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, of whom five are foreign domestic workers. 

Three of them - Cases 59315, 59316 and 59324 - arrived from Bangladesh on Dec 24 and served stay-home notice at dedicated facilities until Jan 7.

Their swabs done on Jan 4 during stay-home notice were negative for COVID-19 and subsequent tests on Jan 8 and Jan 10 were also negative.

MOH said their tests on Jan 13 came back positive for COVID-19 infection, although the Ct values were very high, which are indicative of low viral loads. Their serological test results have also come back positive.

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One is a sea crew member holding a special pass who arrived from the United Arab Emirates onboard a vessel on Jan 11. He had not disembarked from the vessel and was tested for COVID-19 and taken to the hospital when his result came back positive. 

Three other imported cases are short-term visit pass holders. Two had arrived from India and Myanmar to study in Singapore while the remaining case arrived from India to visit her spouse who is a Singapore permanent resident. 

The remaining five cases are work pass holders who arrived from India, Pakistan and the UAE. 

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Given that these indicate likely past infection, the health ministry said it has classified these cases as imported. 

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

The health ministry also added several new locations to its list of public places visited by cases in the community during their infectious period.

These places include several retail and dining destinations at Downtown East and Tampines as well as SingPost Centre.

14 MORE PATIENTS DISCHARGED

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has decreased from eight cases in the week before to two cases in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from five cases in the week before to two cases in the past week. 

Fourteen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 58,771.

There are 51 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit. Another 208 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

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TESTING, VACCINATIONS FOR MARINE SECTOR

About 27,000 shore-based personnel were tested for COVID-19 in a "one-time sweep" between Jan 2 and 8, the Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) said on Thursday.

"All have tested PCR-negative except for one person who was tested PCR-positive and serology-positive, and has been assessed to have recovered from COVID-19 infection," the authority said, referring to polymerase chain reaction tests.

Shore-based personnel include those who carry out essential work onboard vessels in ports, such as cargo and bunkering operations, repairs and maintenance, as well as surveys and inspections.

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They were tested following recent COVID-19 cases in the sector, including a marine surveyor at Lloyd’s Register Singapore and a marine service engineer at Master Systems Marine who have both been linked to family clusters.

COVID-19 vaccinations for shore-based personnel also started on Wednesday as part of the Government's measures to protect frontline workers, said MPA.

As of Friday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,059 COVID-19 cases. 

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Source: CNA/dv/zl

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