Dormitory resident who completed full COVID-19 vaccination regimen among 14 new cases in Singapore
SINGAPORE: The sole dormitory case reported on Tuesday (Apr 20) had received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine last week and was likely to have been infected before he could build up immunity, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
He was among the 14 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Tuesday, said MOH in its daily update.
The remaining 13 cases were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, and there are no new cases in the community, added MOH.
The dormitory case, who is currently unlinked, lives at Westlite Woodlands Dormitory at 2 Woodlands Sector 2.
Identified as Case 62181, he is a construction supervisor who works at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard, located at 60 Admiralty Road West.
The 35-year-old Bangladesh national is employed by Prosper Environmental & Engineering as a work permit holder and has been working in Singapore since July 2019.
He developed a runny nose on Apr 16 but did not report his symptom, said MOH.
On the same day, he was tested for COVID-19 as part of rostered routine testing. His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 on Apr 18.
The ministry said he was immediately isolated and taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases by an ambulance.
An individual test was done on Apr 18, and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day.
His earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on Apr 9 – were all negative for COVID-19.
"His serology test result has come back positive but we have assessed that this is likely a current infection," said MOH.
READ: New COVID-19 cluster in Singapore linked to imported case who was ‘probably reinfected’ in India
The man had received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on Mar 12, and the second dose on Apr 13, said the ministry, adding that this likely accounts for his positive serology test result as he has produced antibodies following vaccination.
"However as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination, he was likely to have been infected before he was conferred protection after vaccination," MOH added.
Epidemiological investigations are in progress, the ministry said.
"In the meantime, all the identified close contacts of the case, including his dormitory and workplace contacts, have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so that we can detect asymptomatic cases.
"We will also conduct serological tests for the close contacts to determine if the case could have been infected by them."
Among the imported cases, one is a Singaporean and two are permanent residents who returned from India and the Philippines.
One imported case is a dependant's pass holder who arrived from Sri Lanka.
Four imported infections involve work pass holders who arrived from India and Malaysia.
Another four cases are work permit holders who travelled from Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, including a foreign domestic worker.
The remaining imported case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to visit her family member, a Singaporean.
READ: Singapore's sole COVID-19 community case is a restaurant manager at 2 eateries; wife tested positive last week
MOH said 37 more COVID-19 cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 60,540 cases have fully recovered from the infection.
There are 74 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving, with one patient in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
Another 221 cases are isolated and cared for at community facilities. They have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
Among the 173 confirmed cases reported from Apr 14 to Monday, 66 cases have tested positive for their serology tests and 89 have tested negative, while 18 serology test results are pending.
The number of new cases in the community has increased from two in the week before to nine in the past week. Unlinked cases have also increased to four in the past week from two in the week before.
BORDER MEASURES FOR RECOVERED TRAVELLERS BEING REVIEWED
Border measures for travellers who have recovered from COVID-19 will be reviewed, said MOH. This comes after a work pass holder who was probably reinfected in India passed the virus to his household contacts here, forming a new cluster of infections.
The man, identified as Case 61536, was initially assessed to be a recovered case and discharged from hospital on Apr 6 without the need for further isolation, said the ministry.
But MOH on Tuesday said he was later assessed to have likely been reinfected with COVID-19 recently.
"Our epidemiological investigations indicate that Case 61536 was probably reinfected when he was in India, and had been infectious when he returned to Singapore," said MOH.
The ministry also said that the man then passed the infection to two other cases in the cluster - his sister-in-law Case 62045 and her husband, Case 62143.
"With the emergence of new variants of concern around the world, we will closely monitor for reinfection of recovered COVID-19 cases, and are reviewing our border measures for recovered travellers," said MOH.
"Similar imported cases suspected of reinfection will be isolated and undergo repeat COVID-19 PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests to monitor the trend of their viral loads, to ensure that such cases are detected promptly."
TIGHTER BORDER MEASURES FOR TRAVELLERS FROM INDIA
Singapore will tighten border measures for travellers arriving from India from Thursday at 11.59pm, following a surge of COVID-19 infections there in recent days.
Travellers from India will have to serve an additional seven-day stay-home notice at their residence following their 14-day stay-home notice at dedicated facilities, MOH said in a separate statement on Tuesday.
READ: Singapore tightens COVID-19 rules for travellers from India, eases measures for those travelling from Hong Kong
Border measures for travellers from some other destinations will be eased with effect from Thursday, 11.59pm.
Eligible travellers from Hong Kong will serve a shorter stay-home notice period of seven days, reduced from 14 days, which can be served at their place of residence.
The travellers must have remained in Hong Kong for 14 days prior to arriving in Singapore, said MOH in Tuesday's announcement.
Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders may serve the stay-home notice at their home if they or their family members own or are sole tenants of the residence.
READ: COVID-19 measures eased for travellers from Hong Kong, UK, South Africa and vaccinated people in official delegations: MOH
A ban on entry and transit by long-term and short-term visit pass holders who have recently travelled to the United Kingdom and South Africa will be lifted.
To facilitate "critical and essential" official travel made at the request of the Singapore Government, a stringent testing and self-isolation regime will also be introduced for fully vaccinated people in official delegations travelling to higher-risk destinations.
Such travellers must adhere to a "strict event-by-event controlled itinerary" while overseas, said MOH.
As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 60,865 COVID-19 cases and 30 fatalities.