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2 community infections among 31 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including man who preliminarily tested positive for B117 strain

2 community infections among 31 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including man who preliminarily tested positive for B117 strain

A woman walks along the waterfront near Marina Bay Sands in Singapore on Nov 28, 2020.

SINGAPORE: Thirty-one new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore as of noon on Wednesday (Jan 6), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Two are locally transmitted cases in the community, said the ministry, adding that no new infections were found in foreign workers' dormitories.

Both community cases are currently unlinked. 

The first case is a 24-year-old man from South Korea. The work permit holder, known as Case 59028, is the sole symptomatic COVID-19 case reported on Wednesday.  

He works at Azur restaurant at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport and his job entails delivering pre-packed meals to air crew and hotel guests. He does not interact with diners at the restaurant, said the health ministry. 

The man tested positive for a pooled swab during rostered routine testing on Jan 2. He was tested again on Jan 4 and he began to develop acute respiratory infection symptoms on the same day. 

His individual test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on Jan 5 and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His serological test was negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection, said MOH. 

He has also preliminarily tested positive for the B117 strain and is pending further confirmatory tests, the ministry added. 

MOH previously said on Dec 23 that there is "currently no evidence that the B117 strain is circulating in the community".

READ: Marina Bay Sands, Yuhua Market and Hawker Centre among places visited by COVID-19 cases during infectious period

The other community case is a 31-year-old Filipino who arrived from the Philippines on Dec 4 and served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Dec 18.

The man, known as Case 59034, tested negative during his pre-departure test taken in the Philippines on Dec 1. Another test on Dec 14 during his stay-home notice came back negative as well, said the health ministry. 

"He is a work permit holder who is employed by Singapore General Hospital, but has not started work yet. 

"As part of his pre-employment health screening, he was tested for COVID-19 on Jan 5 even though he is asymptomatic, and his test came back positive. He was subsequently conveyed to SGH in an ambulance. His serological test result has come back positive, which indicates a likely past infection," said MOH. 

All the identified close contacts of the cases, including their family members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine. They will also be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period said the ministry. 

"We will also conduct serological tests for the close contacts to determine if the case could have been infected by them," MOH added.

12 FOREIGN DOMESTIC WORKERS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 29 cases were imported and include a Singaporean and two permanent residents who returned from the United Kingdom and India. One of the permanent residents who returned from India is a contact of a previously confirmed case, a Singaporean who also returned from the same country.

Five are work pass holders who arrived from India, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates while another is a dependant's pass holder who arrived from India.

Sixteen cases are work permit holders who arrived from India, Indonesia and Myanmar, including 12 foreign domestic workers. 

READ: 2 foreigners tested positive for COVID-19 since green lane arrangements began: Gan Kim Yong

Three cases are short-term visit pass holders. Two of them arrived from the Philippines and Japan for work projects in Singapore and were swabbed and isolated upon arrival, while the other case travelled from Indonesia to visit her Singaporean spouse.

The remaining case is a sea crew member holding a special pass, who arrived from China on board a vessel. He was swabbed upon arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

All the imported cases were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival in Singapore. 

MOH also added several new locations to its list of places visited by COVID-19 cases during their infectious period. 

These places include Cold Storage and Spotlight at Plaza Singapura as well as several stores at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

The COVID-19 cases also visited eateries such as Jinjja Chicken restaurant at Northpoint City in Yishun, Marche Movenpick restaurant at 313@somerset and Ya Kun Kaya Toast cafe in People's Park Centre. 

24 MORE PATIENTS DISCHARGED

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from two cases in the week before to 12 cases in the past week. 

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

Twenty-four more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 58,541.

There are 64 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit. Another 146 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 58,780 COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities from the disease. 

READ: Bunker tanker NewOcean 6 to temporarily cease operations after COVID-19 cases reported on board: MPA



Two foreigners who travelled to Singapore tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of the reciprocal green lane arrangement, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday.

Mr Gan was responding to a parliamentary question by Member of Parliament for Sengkang He Ting Ru. 

Ms He asked how many Singaporeans and foreigners who travelled under the green lane scheme had tested positive for COVID-19 during the 48-hour period of self-isolation upon arrival.

READ: 2 F&B outlets ordered to close, 15 people fined for flouting COVID-19 measures

Up until Dec 26 last year, close to 2,500 people came to Singapore via seven reciprocal green lanes, Mr Gan said.

He added that the two foreigners, both from Japan, were detected during the mandatory on-arrival COVID-19 test for travellers under the green lane scheme.

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Source: CNA/lk/zl

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