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MOH flags concern over unlinked COVID-19 cases, says tests on patients at primary care facilities indicate 'undetected cases in community'

MOH flags concern over unlinked COVID-19 cases, says tests on patients at primary care facilities indicate 'undetected cases in community'

A woman wearing a face mask walks toward the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in Singapore on Apr 3, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The health ministry on Friday (Apr 17) flagged concern over unlinked cases of COVID-19 in Singapore, saying that tests on a sample of individuals at primary care facilities have picked up several positive diagnoses, which indicate "undetected cases in the community".

Primary care facilities in Singapore include polyclinics and general practitioner clinics.

Singapore on Friday reported 623 new cases of COVID-19 and one more death, taking its total to 5,050 infections and 11 fatalities, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a daily update.

Most of the new COVID-19 cases were from foreign worker dormitories, although MOH also raised concern over a rising number of unlinked cases.

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"We are particularly concerned that it is increasingly difficult to link the new cases and identify the source of infection," said MOH in its press release on Friday.

"In fact, the number of unlinked cases in the community has increased slightly, from an average of 19 cases per day in the week before, to an average of 22 per day in the past week," it added.

MOH also said that an ongoing surveillance programme on a small sample of patients at primary care facilities has revealed several positive cases.

"We have picked up some cases through these tests, which is an indication of undetected cases in the community," it said. No further information was provided by MOH.

READ: Timeline: How the COVID-19 outbreak has evolved in Singapore so far

On Friday, MOH reported that a 34-year-old nurse at Bright Vision Hospital had contracted COVID-19.

The Malaysian woman had been in Malaysia between Jan 29 and Apr 8. Following her return to Singapore, she had been on a stay-home notice and had not gone to work.

On Wednesday, MOH reported that a 41-year-old administrative staff at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital had tested positive for the coronavirus. The Singaporean woman, who had no recent travel history to affected places, felt ill on Apr 10 and tested positive four days later.

On Tuesday, MOH reported that a 22-year-old nurse at Singapore General Hospital and a 41-year-old doctor at Tan Tock Seng Hospital had contracted COVID-19.

The nurse is a family member of a previous case, while the doctor is an unlinked case.

READ: Life at the Singapore Expo - A COVID-19 patient shares his experience in a community isolation facility

Singapore has imposed a range of "circuit breaker" measures to curb the spread of the pandemic, including closing non-essential workplaces and schools.

The one-month circuit breaker period will be in place until May 4.

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Source: CNA/aj


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