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19 new community cases in Singapore, including 8 linked to Changi Airport cluster

19 new community cases in Singapore, including 8 linked to Changi Airport cluster

People in protective face masks walk at Changi Airport Terminal 3. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Nineteen community cases were among 31 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Saturday (May 15), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

This comes after two consecutive days of 24 new community cases each on Thursday and Friday.

Seventeen of Saturday's new community cases were linked to previous cases, of which 11 had already been placed on quarantine earlier. Two cases are currently unlinked. 

READ: Timeline: How a COVID-19 cluster emerged at Learning Point tuition centre

3 MORE CASES LINKED TO LEARNING POINT TUTOR

Three more cases have been linked to a Learning Point tutor, said MOH in an update early on Sunday. The cluster now has a total of nine infections. 

The first case is a 41-year-old Singaporean who works in sales at Aero Light. He is a family member and household contact of an eight-year-old Kong Hwa School student who previously tested positive.

The other two cases are a pair of siblings, aged eight and 12. They are students at St Andrew’s Junior School and took the same school bus as a previously confirmed case, a nine-year-old from the same school. Both cases developed symptoms such as fever or runny nose. 

READ: COVID-19: Changi Airport to segregate flight arrivals from high-risk countries, regions

READ: Household members can go out in groups of more than 2 for 'essential activities': Ong Ye Kung

MORE INFECTIONS LINKED TO SENGKANG GENERAL HOSPITAL NURSE

Two cases were linked to a Philippine national who works as an operating theatre nurse at Sengkang General Hospital.

The first case is a six-year-old Singaporean who studies at Palm View Primary School. The boy is a classmate of a seven-year-old Philippine national at EduFirst Learning Centre in Hougang.

The seven-year-old boy, known as Case 63122, is a student at Yio Chu Kang Primary School and was confirmed with COVID-19 on May 12. 

The second case is a seven-year-old Singaporean who also studies at Yio Chu Kang Primary School. He is a schoolmate of Case 63122 and also his classmate at EduFirst Learning Centre in Hougang.

7 PRIMARY SCHOOLS TO SWITCH TO HBL

The Ministry of Education said in a statement on Sunday that seven primary schools will move to home-based learning for the next two weeks. This comes after several students from these primary schools tested positive for COVID-19 after attending tuition classes.

The affected schools are Kong Hwa School, Palm View Primary School, St Andrew Junior School, St Margaret's Primary School, St Stephen's School, Yio Chu Kang Primary School and Yu Neng Primary School. 

Home-based learning for these schools will begin on May 17 until the end of the current term on May 28 to curb the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

CHANGI AIRPORT CLUSTER GROWS FURTHER

Eight of the new cases reported on Sunday were linked to the Changi Airport cluster, taking the number of infections in the cluster to 68.

The cases include a Malaysian assistant cook at Kopitiam in Terminal 3 who has tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant, and a 24-year-old Singaporean who works as a technology associate at Toronto-Dominion Bank who is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

There are also two Chinese nationals who are employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as cleaners at Robinson 77. 

READ: Community transmission occurred as COVID-19 virus breached safety measures; no country can seal itself off totally: MOH

The remaining cases include a 56-year-old Singaporean homemaker, a 26-year-old Singaporean freelance photographer and a 70-year-old Singaporean who works as an executive at 1FSS. All of them are household contacts of previously confirmed cases.

The remaining case is a 52-year-old Singaporean who is employed by SATS as a customer service officer at Changi Airport Terminals 1 and 3.

MOH also provided an update on a previously confirmed case, Case 62998. The 40-year-old Singaporean who works as a risk assessment personnel at Lendlease has been linked to the cluster at Changi Airport following whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory.

80-YEAR-OLD LINKED TO TAN TOCK SENG HOSPITAL CLUSTER

One more case was linked to the cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). The 80-year-old Singaporean had been warded in Ward 9D from Apr 5. She was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Apr 28 where she was tested for COVID-19 daily from May 2 - all her test results were negative for COVID-19 infection. On May 13, she developed a fever, and her test came back positive for COVID-19 infection. Her serology test result is negative.

READ: 2 students at The Learning Lab among latest COVID-19 cases at tuition centres

READ: Several Wang Learning Centre students to quarantine after sharing class with student from Learning Point COVID-19 cluster

ONE UNLINKED CASE TESTS PRELIMINARILY POSITIVE FOR B1617 VARIANT

The unlinked cases are a 53-year-old Singaporean who works as a personal chauffeur and a 49-year-old Singaporean who is currently unemployed. Both developed symptoms such as sore throat and fever prior to testing positive for COVID-19. 

The 53-year-old man has tested preliminarily positive for the B1617 variant. 

CHANGI PRISON INMATE TESTS POSITIVE

The other community cases reported include a 55-year-old Singaporean homemaker and a 70-year-old retiree. They are both household contacts of previously confirmed cases. 

The remaining community case is a 32-year-old Singaporean who is an inmate at Changi Prison Complex. He is a close contact of Case 63160, a China national who works as a cook at the prison, and was quarantined on May 13. He is asymptomatic, and was detected when he was tested for COVID-19 on the same day. His test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on May 14. 

READ: No dining-in at eateries: Restaurants pivot again, food delivery services gear up

READ: About 5,000 inmates, staff to be tested for COVID-19 after cook at Changi Prison tests positive

6 PERMANENT RESIDENTS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 12 cases were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore, said the ministry. 

Among them are six permanent residents and one Singaporean who returned from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. 

There are four work permit holders who arrived from Indonesia and the Philippines. The remaining imported case is a work pass holder who arrived from Sri Lanka, 

MOH said the arrivals from the Indian sub-continent had already come into Singapore before the restrictions on travel were imposed. More details can be found in the health ministry’s daily situation report.  

No new infections were reported in foreign workers' dormitories.

INCREASE IN NUMBER OF UNLINKED CASES

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 43 cases in the week before to 103 cases in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from six cases in the week before to 16 cases in the past week. 

Among the 205 confirmed cases reported from May 9 to May 15, a total of 68 cases have tested positive for their serology tests while 111 have tested negative. A further 26 serology test results are pending.

The health ministry also added several new locations to its list of places visited by COVID-19 cases in the community during their infectious period.

The places include KK Women's and Children's Hospital as well as eateries at Waterway Point and Compass One. 

Fifteen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 61,062.

There are 190 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and three are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Another 253 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.



CHANGI AIRPORT SEGREGATES FLIGHT ARRIVALS

Changi Airport will segregate flights and passengers from high-risk countries and regions from those arriving from low-risk places, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said on Saturday.

Flights arriving from high-risk regions will be assigned different piers. Passengers on these flights will use different arrival immigration halls, baggage belts and toilets from those arriving on flights from low-risk countries or regions.

Passengers on flights from "very high-risk countries" will be escorted through the airport and have their on-arrival COVID-19 tests done at separate health screening stations.

The move comes after about 20 cases in the cluster of infections at the airport were found to have been "quite congregated" around an area that receives travellers from higher-risk regions.

The authorities on Saturday also announced that Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders with recent travel history to Taiwan will have to serve a 21-day stay-home notice.

These measures, which come in the wake of increased COVID-19 cases in Taiwan, will take effect on May 16 from 11.59pm, said MOH. 

The stay-home notice will consist of a 14-day stay at a dedicated facility, followed by an additional seven days at their place of residence.

As of Saturday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,536 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities from the disease.

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Source: CNA/kg/zl

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