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58 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore, 3 in community; highest number of cases in more than 4 months

58 new COVID-19 infections in Singapore, 3 in community; highest number of cases in more than 4 months

File photo of pedestrians wearing protective face masks along Orchard Rd in Singapore on Sep 9, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Three community cases were among the 58 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Saturday (Jan 30), said the Ministry of Health.

This is the highest number of infections in Singapore since Sep 11 last year, when 86 cases were reported.

The remaining 55 infections were imported cases and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival.

Among the imported cases were four Singaporeans or permanent residents and 32 foreign domestic workers.

No new infections were reported in foreign worker dormitories.

COMMUNITY CASES DID NOT SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT DESPITE SYMPTOMS

The first case (Case 59757) is a 72-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Certis Cisco as an aviation screening officer at Changi Airport Terminal 1. 

His job involves him screening baggage of arrival passengers via X-ray scanners, and directing passengers to the baggage screening lanes.

On Monday, he had received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the vaccination centre located at Changi Airport Terminal 4.

He developed a cough and sore throat on the same day, but did not seek medical treatment. 

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

"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."

On Wednesday, he went to work and was tested as part of rostered routine testing (RRT). 

His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 on Thursday night, and an individual test was done later that same night at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). 

His test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day. 

His earlier RRT tests – the last being on Jan 15 – were negative for COVID-19 infection, said the ministry. 

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

On Thursday evening, he met 12 other individuals for tennis at the National Service Resort & Country Club located at 10 Changi Coast Walk. 

"Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been any breach of the relevant prevailing safe management measures," said MOH.

READ: Marsiling Market and National Service Resort & Country Club among places visited by COVID-19 cases while infectious

The second community case is a 68-year-old permanent resident, known as Case 59788, who works as a cleaner at Broadway coffee shop, located at Block 848 Yishun Street 81.

He developed a sore throat and body aches on Tuesday, but did not seek medical treatment. He went to work on Wednesday, and developed a runny nose that night. He stayed at home the next day. 

On Friday, he sought medical treatment at a polyclinic where he was tested for COVID-19 as part of MOH's enhanced community testing. 

He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on the same day, and was subsequently taken to NCID. 

His serology test result is pending, said the ministry.

The remaining community case is the wife of Case 59788, a 69-year-old permanent resident who is a homemaker.

Known as Case 59789, she developed a cough and flu last Saturday, but did not seek medical treatment until Friday, when she went to a polyclinic with her husband. 

She was tested for COVID-19 and her result came back positive on the same day. 

She was subsequently taken to NCID and her serology test result is pending.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing. All identified close contacts of the cases, including their family members, household members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine, said MOH. 

"We strongly urge everyone to do their part to reduce the risk of transmission. Those who are unwell, including those showing early/mild symptoms, should be socially responsible and seek medical attention immediately and stay at home to prevent the spread of illness to others," said the ministry.

READ: Aviation screening officer who met 12 others for tennis after developing symptoms among new community COVID-19 cases

MOH added that the overall number of new cases in the community has decreased from 17 cases in the week before to three cases in the past week. 

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

MOH also added several new places to its list of locations visited by community cases during their infectious period. They are: Marsiling Market, Broadway coffee shop at Block 848 Yishun Street 81, and the National Service Resort & Country Club Changi.

TWO LOCAL CLUSTERS CLOSED

According to MOH, there have been no more cases linked to two clusters for the past two incubation periods.

These clusters - one involving Case 58810, a marine surveyor, and the other involving Case 58817, a harbour pilot, have been closed.

3 CITIZENS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

Among the 55 imported COVID-19 infections, there are three Singaporeans and one permanent resident who returned from Bahrain, Indonesia, Malaysia and the United Kingdom.

Four are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from France, India and Russia.

One is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from India, while two cases are work pass holders who arrived from Romania and the United Arab Emirates.

Three cases are short-term visit pass holders - one who arrived from Indonesia for a job placement, another who travelled from India to study in Singapore, and the third case who came from Bangladesh to visit her family member who is warded in a hospital here.

The remaining are 41 are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar, of whom 32 are foreign domestic workers.

RECOVERIES

Fifteen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 59,196.

There are 46 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and no one is in the intensive care unit. Another 236 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Amongst the 247 confirmed cases reported from Jan 24 to Jan 30, 122 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, said MOH. Forty have tested negative, and 85 serology test results are pending.

As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,157 COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities.



GREEN LANES ARRANGEMENTS SUSPENDED

From Monday, Singapore will suspend reciprocal green lane (RGL) arrangements with Malaysia, Germany, South Korea for three months, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). 

In a statement on Saturday, MFA said: "Given the resurgence of COVID-19 cases worldwide, the Government of Singapore will be suspending the Reciprocal Green Lane arrangements with Germany, Malaysia, and the Republic of Korea, for a period of three months beginning from Monday, 1 February 2021, 0001hrs." 

"The Government of Singapore will review the Reciprocal Green Lane arrangements at the end of the suspension period. Travellers who have already been approved to enter Singapore under these Reciprocal Green Lanes can continue to do so," the statement added.

READ: 25 COVID-19 cases with B117 variant found in Singapore: MOH

MFA added that the Singapore Government will continue to monitor the global situation and adjust border measures to manage the risk of importation and transmission to the community. 

As of Saturday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,507 COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities.

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Source: CNA/lk

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