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10 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including Sengkang General Hospital nurse

Four of the 10 new community COVID-19 cases have tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant from India, including an operating theatre nurse at Sengkang General Hospital.

10 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including Sengkang General Hospital nurse

View of Sengkang General Hospital. (Image: Google Maps)

SINGAPORE: Ten cases in the community were among 16 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Wednesday (May 12), said the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

Seven of the 10 new community cases are linked to the Changi Airport cluster. One is linked to the cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), while another is linked to a Grab driver who previously tested positive. 

Four of the 10 new community cases have tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant of the coronavirus - a variant first detected in India.

SENGKANG GENERAL HOSPITAL NURSE

The sole unlinked community case is a 33-year-old Philippine national who works as an operating theatre nurse at Sengkang General Hospital.

The man developed a runny nose on the night of May 9, a cough on the night of May 10 and subsequently a fever, sore throat, shortness of breath and loss of taste on May 11. 

READ: Jewel Changi Airport, Terminals 1 and 3 to be closed to public as COVID-19 testing continues

He was tested for COVID-19 on May 10 as part of Sengkang General Hospital’s testing of staff members and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day. His serology test result is positive. 

Case 63096 received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Jan 19 and the second dose on Feb 8. He has tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, and is pending further confirmatory tests.

CASE LINKED TO GRAB DRIVER

The second community case, a 36-year-old Vietnamese woman, has been linked to the cluster involving a Grab driver. The woman, who is a short-term pass holder, is a household contact of the driver and his family member, a 72-year-old Singaporean man.

The woman, known as Case 63092, arrived from Vietnam on Apr 12 and served her stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Apr 26. Her pre-departure test taken in Vietnam on Apr 10 was negative for COVID-19 infection, as was a test taken during her stay-home notice on Apr 25. 

As she had been identified as a close contact of Case 62969, she was placed on quarantine on May 8 and tested for COVID-19 on May 10 during quarantine. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day. Her serology test result is negative.

CHANGI AIRPORT CLUSTER GROWS

Of the seven new community cases linked to the COVID-19 cluster at Changi Airport, three have tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant and are pending further confirmatory tests.

The three cases involve two Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers who were stationed at Terminal 3 as well as a cleaner employed by Ramky Cleantech Services and works at Terminal 3. 

The other four cases are an IT engineer employed by Huawei Enterprise who works at Terminal 4, another cleaner employed by Ramky Cleantech Services, a Certis Cisco aviation security officer who works at Terminal 3 and a sales associate at a retail store in Terminal 3. 

READ: Anytime Fitness in Choa Chu Kang, Haidilao in VivoCity visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

MOH also provided an update on Case 63005, a 47-year-old Singaporean who works as a landscaper at the National Parks Board (NParks). Epidemiological investigations have found that the man is linked to the Changi Airport cluster. 

He had been at Terminal 3 on May 3 and May 4, and had visited the same locations as Cases 62940 and 62942 - a 47-year-old cleaner employed by Ramky Cleantech Services and a 33-year-old safety coordinator at Changi Airport - during their infectious period. 

He was likely to have been infected while he was at Changi Airport Terminal 3, said MOH. 

TTSH PATIENT TESTS POSITIVE

The remaining COVID-19 community case reported on Wednesday is a 64-year-old Singaporean who is linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster. Case 63104 had been warded in Ward 9D from Apr 26 and was transferred to NCID on Apr 28. 

As she had been identified as a close contact of Case 62541 - the first nurse in the cluster to test positive - she was placed on quarantine on Apr 29. She was tested for COVID-19 on Apr 26, Apr 28 and Apr 30, and the results were negative. 

She was discharged on May 2 and continued to be on quarantine. She was tested for COVID-19 on May 11 during quarantine. Her test result came back positive on the same day. 

Her serology test result is negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection, said MOH. 

The cluster at TTSH now has 44 cases.

FOREIGN DOMESTIC WORKER AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining six COVID-19 cases reported on Wednesday were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore, said the ministry. 

They include a Singaporean and permanent resident who both returned from India. Three are work pass holders who arrived from Malaysia, the Philippines and Sri Lanka. The remaining case is a foreign domestic worker from the Philippines who holds a work permit. 

"The arrivals from the Indian sub-continent had already come into Singapore before the restrictions on travel were imposed," said MOH.

No new infections were reported in foreign workers’ dormitories.

31 MORE PATIENTS DISCHARGED

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has decreased from 62 cases in the week before to 49 cases in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from seven cases in the week before to 12 cases in the past week. 

Among the 151 confirmed cases reported from May 6 to May 12, a total of 69 cases have tested positive for their serology tests while 66 have tested negative. A further 16 serology test results are pending.

Thirty-one more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 61,006.

There are 143 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and three are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Another 239 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,419 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities.



READ: Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster grows as family members, household contacts of previous cases test positive

CHANGI AIRPORT CLUSTER GROWS

Including the seven new infections reported on Wednesday, the Changi Airport COVID-19 cluster has now grown to 25 cases, including household contacts and family members of previous cases.

The first infection in the cluster was detected on May 5, when an 88-year-old man who works as a cleaner at Terminal 3 tested positive.

A Victoria Junior College student who tested positive for the virus on May 7 has also since been linked to the Changi Airport cluster.

The student had visited the Kopitiam food court at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on May 3, the same day as two other cases in the Changi Airport cluster, said MOH in an update on the case on Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) and Changi Airport Group (CAG) said last Sunday that all workers in Changi Airport’s operating terminals will be tested for COVID-19 in a special testing operation.

About 9,000 workers from Terminal 1, Terminal 3 and Jewel Changi Airport will undergo these tests. Terminal 2 is not open.

While the special testing operation is ongoing, the passenger terminal buildings will be closed to the public from May 13 to May 27, said CAAS and CAG on Wednesday.

Only passengers with air tickets and essential airport workers will be able to access the passenger terminals during this period.

Jewel Changi Airport will also be closed for 14 days, they said.

MOH also said in its release on Wednesday that it is offering free COVID-19 testing to members of the public who had visited Changi Airport Terminal 3 from May 3.

MOH will progressively inform these individuals via SMS notification with information on how to book an appointment for their test.

READ: VJC student who tested positive for COVID-19 is linked to Changi Airport cluster

SINGAPORE ON KNIFE-EDGE

In ministerial statements in Parliament on Tuesday, Education Minister Lawrence Wong and Health Minister Gan Kim Yong provided updates on the COVID-19 situation in Singapore.

Mr Wong said that Singapore is now on a knife-edge, with community case numbers that could go either way over the next few weeks.

While Singapore has a chance of “getting things under control” by the end of the month, it only takes "one lapse or one irresponsible action" for an infection to happen, he said.

READ: Virus variant from India 'concerning' as infections could spread 'quickly and widely', says Gan Kim Yong

READ: COVID-19 vaccinations offered to staff members and students staying in university hostels

As of May 9, about 1.8 million people in Singapore have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, with 1.2 million of them receiving their second dose, said Mr Gan in his statement.

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Source: CNA/kg/vc

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