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Sea crew member who preliminarily tested positive for B117 strain is Singapore's sole community case

Singapore reported 23 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday (Apr 18).

Sea crew member who preliminarily tested positive for B117 strain is Singapore's sole community case

People eating at a hawker centre in Ang Mo Kio Central on Jun 19, 2020. (File photo: Rachel Phua)

SINGAPORE: A sea crew member who preliminarily tested positive for the B117 strain is the sole community case among 23 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore on Sunday (Apr 18).

The remaining 22 cases were imported, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its daily update. All were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival in Singapore, it added.

No new infections were reported in foreign workers' dormitories.


The sea crew member, a 39-year-old Indonesian national who works on board a bunker tanker, is currently unlinked, said MOH.

He had not disembarked from the vessel except to go for COVID-19 testing and vaccination.

The man is asymptomatic and was detected when he was tested on Apr 15 as part of the rostered routine testing. His pooled test result came back positive the next day.

Identified as Case 62113, the man had tested negative in earlier rostered routine testing, the last of which was on Apr 1.

His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

The ministry said the man has tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain and is pending further confirmatory tests. The B117 variant is the more contagious strain first detected in the United Kingdom.

READ: New COVID-19 variants: Do the UK and South Africa virus strains pose a danger to Singapore?

He also received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Apr 15, said MOH.

"As the vaccine does not contain live virus, he could not have been infected due to vaccination.

"It is possible for one to be infected just before or just after vaccination as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination."

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing and all his identified close contacts, including the crew members of the vessel, have been isolated and placed on quarantine.

MOH said the number of new community cases has increased from two in the week before to eight in the past week. Unlinked cases have also increased to five in the past week from two in the week before.

Among the 178 confirmed cases reported from Apr 12 to Sunday, 55 cases have tested positive for their serology tests. A total of 91 test results were negative, with the remaining 32 serology test results are pending.

READ: What we know about the COVID-19 cases in Singapore that tested positive for the B117 strain


Among the imported cases, five are permanent residents who returned from India, MOH said.

Two are dependant's pass holders who arrived from Nepal, while one is a long-term visit pass holder who travelled from India.

There are five work pass holders who arrived from India and Kazakhstan, and five work permit holders who travelled from Bangladesh and India.

The remaining four imported infections are short-term visit pass holders. Two of them arrived from Indonesia and Romania for work assignments in Singapore.

The other two short-term visit pass holders are sea crew members who arrived from the Philippines and Myanmar. One was placed on stay-home notice upon arrival and the other had not disembarked and was tested on board.

The sea crew member from the Philippines, identified as Case 62110, arrived on Mar 24 to board a vessel that is docked in Singapore.

His test taken on arrival was negative for COVID-19.

He then served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility from Mar 24 to Apr 7, with his test done on Apr 6 returning negative as well.

The 43-year-old Filipino boarded his designated vessel on Apr 8, from which he had not disembarked.

He was tested again on Apr 16 as part of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore's protocol to test sea crew members. When his test came back positive, he was taken to hospital.

His Ct value was "very high", which indicates a low viral load, while his serology test result has also come back positive, said the ministry.

"Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported based on his travel history," said MOH.

"He is likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others," it added.


MOH said 22 more COVID-19 cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 60,485 have fully recovered from the infection.

There are 68 confirmed cases still in hospital, most of whom are stable or improving, with two patients in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Another 248 cases are isolated and cared for at community facilities. They have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.


Four new community COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore on Saturday, including two linked to a National University of Singapore (NUS) researcher, forming a new cluster.

The 34-year-old Indian national tested positive on Friday. On Saturday, his brother, who works at DBS Bank at 2 Changi Business Park Crescent, and a colleague, a Swiss national who is also a senior research fellow at NUS, tested positive for the virus.

READ: New COVID-19 cluster in Singapore linked to NUS researcher

READ: NSman tests positive for COVID-19 before in-camp training at Nee Soon Camp

A Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) national serviceman (NSman) also tested positive for COVID-19 before the start of his in-camp training at Nee Soon Camp. 

The 35-year-old Singaporean, who works as a freelance photographer, was swabbed as part of routine safety measures for all NSmen before they begin their training. 

As of Sunday, Singapore has reported a total of 60,831 COVID-19 cases and 30 fatalities from the disease. 

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Source: CNA/cy


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