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Myanmar maid is Singapore's first COVID-19 community case in 2 weeks; developed symptoms the day she started work

Myanmar maid is Singapore's first COVID-19 community case in 2 weeks; developed symptoms the day she started work

People wearing face masks at Paya Lebar Quarter on Sep 15, 2020. (Photo: Try Sutrisno Foo)

SINGAPORE: Singapore reported one locally transmitted COVID-19 case as of noon on Friday (Mar 26), the first of such infections in two weeks.

The community case was among 12 new infections. The remaining cases were imported and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

No new cases were reported in migrant workers' dormitories.

The sole community case is a 26-year-old woman from Myanmar who is a foreign domestic worker.

The woman, known as Case 61184, arrived from Myanmar on Jan 23 and served stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Feb 6.

MOH said her test taken on Feb 5 during stay-home notice was negative for COVID-19. 

Following her stay-home notice, she moved into a boarding house for foreign domestic workers while waiting for deployment to an employer, and had not left the boarding house from Feb 6 to Mar 23, said the health ministry. 

READ: 'Minimal wastage' of COVID-19 vaccine doses at vaccination sites, says MOH

On Mar 23, she started work at her employer's residence. On the same night, she developed a cough and runny nose. She sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on Mar 24 and was tested for COVID-19. 

Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance. 

Another test conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory on Mar 25 was negative for COVID-19 and her serological test result has come back as positive.

"She could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection, but given that we are not able to definitively conclude that she had been infected before her arrival in Singapore, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure," said MOH. 

READ: MOM unveils onboarding centre for new migrant workers; COVID-19 jabs to begin at 30 dorms

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing and all identified close contacts of the case, including those at the boarding house and employer's residence, have been isolated and quarantined. They will be tested for COVID-19 at the start and end of their quarantine period.

Serological tests will also be done for close contacts to determine if the case could have been infected by them.


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

The Tampines branch of Nation, an agency for foreign domestic workers, was visited on Mar 23 and Mar 25. It is located at 201E Tampines Street 23. FoodCity at Tampines Street 11 was also visited on Mar 25.

The Tampines branch of Nation, an agency for foreign domestic workers, was visited on Mar 23 and Mar 25. (Photo: Google Maps/Nation Maid Agency, Tampines)


The imported cases reported on Friday include two Singaporeans who returned from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates as well as a work pass holder from the Philippines.

There were six work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India and the Philippines and a student's pass holder who arrived from India for studies in Singapore.

The remaining imported case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from Romania as part of an e-sports event crew.


MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from none in the week before to one case in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from none in the week before to one case in the past week. 

Among the 98 confirmed cases reported from Mar 20 to Mar 26, a total of 31 cases have tested positive while 47 have tested negative. A further 20 serology test results are pending. 

Seventeen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 60,103.

There are 27 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit. Another 105 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

READ: Singapore made advance purchases for COVID-19 vaccines, including Sinovac

READ: 50,000 workers in education sector invited for COVID-19 vaccination, more than 80% made appointments

Almost 50,000 COVID-19 vaccination invitations were sent out to the first batch of workers in the education sector on Mar 10, with more than 80 per cent of those invited making appointments.

More than 600 Madrasah employees have also been invited to take the vaccine.

Authorities announced on Mar 9 that more than 150,000 teachers and other workers in the education sector will be offered the vaccine.

"It complements existing efforts to keep our educational institutions safe, as children and the majority of our students are not yet medically eligible for vaccination," authorities said then.

READ: COVID-19 vaccination now open to Singapore residents aged 45 to 59

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is approved for use only in those aged 16 and above. The Moderna vaccine is only approved for use in individuals aged 18 years and older.

More than 770,000 people in Singapore have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday, according to MOH. Of these, more than 300,000 have completed both doses and completed the full vaccination regime.

As of Friday, Singapore has reported a total of 60,265 COVID-19 cases. 

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Source: CNA/dv/zl


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