SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 38 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Wednesday (Jan 13), said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in its preliminary daily update.
One case was found in a foreign workers' dormitory, the first since Dec 15. No new cases were reported in the community.
The dormitory case, known as Case 59243, is currently unlinked. He is a work permit holder who arrived from India on Dec 11 and served stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Dec 25. His swab done on Dec 21 during stay-home notice was negative for COVID-19, said MOH.
The man, who resides at Seatown Dormitory, started work in the construction sector on Jan 6.
He tested negative again for COVID-19 on Dec 27. However a subsequent test taken on Jan 12 as part of rostered routine testing came back positive for COVID-19 infection. His serological test result was also positive.
Given the relatively long time interval between his travel and positive COVID-19 test, MOH said it has classified this case as locally transmitted while epidemiological investigations are in progress.
All his identified close contacts, including his dormitory contacts and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period. Serological tests for the close contacts will also be conducted.
ANOTHER CASE LINKED TO NEWOCEAN 6 CLUSTER
Thirty-seven cases were imported and were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, said MOH.
They include three Singaporeans and five permanent residents who returned from France, India, Indonesia, the United Kingdom and the United States. One Singaporean, a 28-year-old woman who returned from the US, had an onset of symptoms on Dec 31 before she was confirmed with COVID-19 infection on Jan 12.
One of the permanent residents, a 9-year-old girl who travelled from India, is a contact of a previously confirmed case - Case 59194 is a 37-year-old permanent resident who also travelled from India.
Four of the imported cases are work pass holders who arrived from India and the United Arab Emirates.
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Twenty-one others are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines, of whom eight are foreign domestic workers.
One of the work permit holders, known as Case 59229, is a sea crew member who worked onboard bunker tanker NewOcean 6. He had been identified as a close contact of Case 58812, the first case linked to the bunker tanker, and was quarantined on Dec 31. He was tested during quarantine and confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Jan 12. The NewOcean 6 cluster now has a total of 12 confirmed infections.
There were also three short-term visit pass holders among the imported cases reported on Wednesday. Two of them are family members of Singaporeans or permanent residents who arrived from Poland and India while one arrived from Brazil to participate in an eSport event.
The remaining case is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from Indonesia.
28 PATIENTS DISCHARGED
MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has decreased from 12 cases in the week before to four cases in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from five cases in the week before to two cases in the past week.
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Twenty-eight more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 58,722.
There are 56 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit. Another 177 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.
As of Wednesday, Singapore has reported a total of 58,984 COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities from the disease.
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Migrant workers account for most of Singapore's COVID-19 cases, with more than 1,000 new cases a day detected in dormitories during the peak of the outbreak in April.
To contain the outbreak, the Government imposed a series of measures, including declaring dormitories as isolation areas and putting workers through routine COVID-19 testing.
All workers living in dormitories, and those who work in the construction, marine and process sectors, underwent routine testing once every 14 days to detect and contain new infections rapidly.
By August last year, all migrant workers living in dormitories had been tested and almost all were cleared to return to work safely.
The ministries also said that a pilot scheme would begin in the first quarter of 2021 to allow migrant workers in some dormitories to access the community once a month, subject to compliance with routine testing, the wearing of contact tracing devices and safe living measures.