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14 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 2 community infections linked to police para-vet cluster

14 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 2 community infections linked to police para-vet cluster

Singapore Police Force's K-9 unit at Mowbray Road. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 14 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Monday (Jan 18), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Two cases are in the community and there are no new cases in foreign workers' dormitories.

Both community cases are linked to the Case 59280 cluster, which began after a police para-veterinarian tested positive for COVID-19. They are both family members of Case 59365, a 44-year-old Singaporean man who works as an administrative officer at the same location as the para-vet. 

The first community case reported on Monday is a 43-year-old Singaporean woman known as Case 59393. She is the spouse of Case 59365 and is a homemaker.

MOH said she developed a runny nose on Jan 10 and subsequently experienced a loss of taste, sore throat and diarrhoea on Jan 12 but had not sought medical treatment.

As part of its contact tracing efforts, the health ministry said the woman was contacted on Jan 16 following the confirmation of Case 59365, and was tested for COVID-19 when she reported these symptoms. 

READ: What we know so far about the COVID-19 cluster linked to the police para-vet

Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day and she was taken to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital in an ambulance. Her serological test result came back negative, indicating that this was likely a current infection, added MOH.

The second case is a 66-year-old Malaysian woman who is known as Case 59395. She is a long-term visit pass holder and has been residing in Singapore since January 2020.

She is a retiree who is a family member of Case 59365. MOH said she developed acute respiratory infection symptoms and diarrhoea on Jan 9 and subsequently experienced a loss of taste on Jan 14 but had not sought medical treatment.

As she had been identified as a close contact of Case 59365, she was contacted by MOH on Jan 16 and tested for COVID-19 when she reported these symptoms. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day, and she was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital in an ambulance. 

Her serological test result came back positive. Together with her COVID-19 symptoms, this indicates a likely recent infection with onset on Jan 9, said the health ministry.

The Case 59280 cluster now has a total of six confirmed infections. 

READ: Lot One Shoppers’ Mall, Junction 10 among places visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing and all identified close contacts of the cases, including their family members, have been isolated and placed on quarantine. Serological and COVID-19 tests will also be conducted for them.

"We strongly urge everyone to do their part to reduce the risk of transmission. Those who are unwell, including those showing early/mild symptoms, should be socially responsible and seek medical attention immediately," said MOH.

MOH added that the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from eight cases in the week before to 10 cases in the past week. 

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

VIRUS STILL CIRCULATING SILENTLY WITHIN COMMUNITY: LAWRENCE WONG

Minister for Education Lawrence Wong on Monday said that the authorities are seeing more new infected cases in the community in recent days. 

“For the first time in several months we have a local cluster linked to a police para-vet. Unfortunately there were also several recent cases who did not seek medical treatment despite falling ill with flu-like symptoms,” he said in a Facebook post.

READ: All travellers, including Singaporeans, to take COVID-19 test upon arrival in Singapore

Mr Wong, who also co-chairs the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, said contact tracers are working hard to identify all the possible contacts, “ring-fence” the potential cases and prevent them from spreading further. 

“We are also monitoring the situation carefully and considering if additional measures are necessary to ensure the infection remains under control," he said.

"Meanwhile please cooperate with all the safe management measures - wear your masks, see a doctor when sick, and do your part to reduce transmission risks. The virus is still circulating silently within our community and we cannot afford to let our guard down."

2 CITIZENS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 12 cases reported on Monday are imported and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, said MOH. 

They include two Singaporeans and four permanent residents who returned from India, Mexico, Pakistan, Switzerland the United Kingdom and the United States. 

Four are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India and Malaysia. 

READ: 37,000 frontline aviation, maritime workers to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine

The remaining cases are a dependant's pass holder who arrived from India and a student's pass holder who arrived from the Czech Republic. 

MOH also added several new places to its list of locations visited by cases in the community during their infectious period. Among the places are popular shopping destinations such as Lot One Shoppers' Mall and Junction 10. 

22 MORE PATIENTS DISCHARGED

Twenty-two more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 58,868.

There are 44 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit. Another 186 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

As of Monday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,127 COVID-19 cases.




From 11.59pm on Monday, all Singaporeans and permanent residents returning from the United Kingdom and South Africa will have to serve an additional seven days of self-isolation at their place of residence, after completing a 14-day stay-home notice period at dedicated facilities.

This is part of tighter border measures announced by MOH on Saturday to manage the risk of imported COVID-19 cases.

All travellers, including Singaporeans and permanent residents, will also need to take a COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test upon arrival in Singapore. This will take effect from 11.59pm on Jan 24.

VACCINATIONS BEGIN FOR AVIATION, MARITIME WORKERS

Plans to provide COVID-19 vaccines to 37,000 frontline workers in the aviation and maritime sectors kicked off on Monday.

About 13,000 workers from the two sectors are already scheduled to be vaccinated this week under the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise, said Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung.

Mr Ong described the vaccination exercise as an important step towards the revival of Singapore's air sector. 

READ: More than 10,000 frontline maritime workers to be vaccinated by end-January: MPA

"You all know that the aviation industry is decimated by COVID-19, but we must have the determination that when the crisis passes, Singapore will be an aviation hub of the region and the world again," he said.

E-SPORTS TOURNAMENT GOES AHEAD

E-sports tournament M2 World Championship proceeded as scheduled on Monday after three participants from Brazil tested positive for COVID-19 last week.

They tested positive after a swab at the end of their 14-day stay-home notice, said the event's organiser MOONTON in response to CNA's queries.

READ: E-sports tournament in Singapore to go ahead after 3 Brazil participants test positive for COVID-19

READ: New COVID-19 variants: Do the UK and South Africa virus strains pose a danger to Singapore

"They had each taken a COVID-19 PCR test and tested negative before departure for Singapore," MOONTON said in its statement.

Their close contacts have been identified and are currently serving their quarantine in a dedicated facility, it added.

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Source: CNA/jt/zl

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