COVID-19: Maid who works for SIA cabin crew member also preliminarily positive for B117 strain

COVID-19: Maid who works for SIA cabin crew member also preliminarily positive for B117 strain

The National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore, on April 3, 2020.
The National Centre for Infectious Diseases, on Apr 3. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore's sole community COVID-19 case on Wednesday (Feb 24) is a 35-year-old Indonesian woman who is employed as a foreign domestic worker, said the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

The woman, identified as Case 60439,  works for Cases 60102 and 60389, the Singapore Airlines (SIA) cabin crew member and her husband who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month.

The helper was identified as a close contact of the cabin crew member and placed on quarantine on Feb 9. 

Her swab and serology test on Feb 9 were negative for COVID-19, said MOH. 

The woman developed a cough on Feb 20 during quarantine but it was not reported to the health ministry. 

She was tested for COVID-19 on Feb 22 and her result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day. The woman was then taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in an ambulance. 

"Her serological test result has come back positive but this is likely to be a recent infection," said MOH.

The woman has also tested preliminary positive for the B117 strain of the coronavirus - the more contagious strain first detected in the United Kingdom - and is pending further confirmatory tests, it added. 

sia chinatown clusters feb 24
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READ: Singapore receives its first shipment of Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine

READ: SIA crew member infected with COVID-19 did not interact with passengers; possible 'close contact' with cleaners in Dubai: CAAS

SIA CABIN CREW MEMBER AND HUSBAND DID NOT REPORT SYMPTOMS

The SIA crew member tested positive on Feb 9 after working on a turnaround flight to the UAE. She was the fifth person on the flight to have contracted the disease, and could have been infected on board the plane, said MOH earlier this month.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has said previously that the cabin crew member did not interact with any infected passengers on the flight, but may have come into close contact with cleaners who came on board the aircraft during the turnaround in Dubai.

The flight departed Singapore on Jan 30 and returned on Feb 1. The cabin crew member was assigned to business class with no passengers during the trip to Dubai. She was positioned as a passenger and sat with the rest of the crew at the back of the aircraft during her trip back to Singapore.

She developed "anosmia" on Feb 4, said MOH previously, referring to the loss of smell, but she did not seek medical attention. Her infection was detected during a pooled test for air crew taken on Feb 7, and confirmed in an aindividual test on Feb 9.

Her husband, an event planner, was placed in quarantine on Feb 9. He too developed "anosmia", or loss of smell, on Feb 15 during quarantine but did not report his symptom. He later developed a fever and self medicated on Feb 20, again without informing MOH of his symptoms. 

The man was tested for COVID-19 the next day as part of MOH's protocol to test individuals in quarantine. His test came back positive and he was taken to NCID. 

Both the cabin crew member and her husband have tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain.

READ: Husband of SIA cabin crew member tests positive for COVID-19, did not report developing symptoms during quarantine

READ: SIA cabin crew member might have been infected on flight, 4 passengers also tested positive for COVID-19: MOH

"Individuals on quarantine or stay-home notice are required to declare any symptoms promptly, and to report their health status to MOH every day. They are provided with a list of COVID-19 symptoms to look out for, as well as reporting instructions, at the start of their isolation period," the Health Ministry has said previously. 

"We remind these individuals to be socially responsible and to report their symptoms promptly, even if these are early/mild."

Singapore reported a total of seven new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, bringing the nation's tally to 59,890 cases.

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Source: CNA/lk

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