1 community case among 15 new COVID infections in Singapore

People seen queueing at a vaccination centre in Jurong West on 23 February 2021. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
People seen queueing at a vaccination centre in Jurong West on 23 February 2021. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 15 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Wednesday (21 April) including one new case of locally transmitted infection, taking the country's total case count to 60,880.

The local case is in the community, while the remaining 14 cases are imported.

"Amongst the new cases today, 11 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while four were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The sole community case, currently unlinked and asymptomatic, is a 39-year-old male permanent resident who works as a systems engineer at Parkway Pantai.

The man has been working from home, and has not returned to his workplace. He had travelled to India from 9 July last year to 24 January, said the MOH.

Upon his return to Singapore, he served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until 7 February, with his test taken the day before with a negative result for COVID-19.

"The man was detected when he took a COVID-19 pre-departure test on 19 April in preparation for a trip. His test result came back positive the next day, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases," said the MOH.

It added that the man's Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load, and his serology test result has come back positive.

"He could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection which are no longer transmissible and infective to others, but given that we are not able to definitively conclude when he had been infected, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure," said the ministry.

The MOH said that the number of new cases in the community has increased from two in the week before to nine in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from one in the week before to five in the past week.

14 imported cases, including 4-year-old boy

Of the 14 imported cases, two are permanent residents who returned from India.

Two others are dependent's pass holders who arrived from India and the United Arab Emirates, including a four-year-old boy from India who is among Wednesday's four symptomatic cases.

One case is a student’s pass holder who arrived from India.

Seven cases are work pass holders who arrived from India, Luxembourg, Nepal, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK. Two male work pass holders, aged 35 and 30, who arrived from India and Nepal, respectively are two of Wednesday's four symptomatic cases.

One case is a work permit holder who arrived from Indonesia and is a foreign domestic worker.

The remaining case is a 28-year-old male short-term visit pass holder, also Wednesday's fourth symptomatic case, who arrived from India to visit his family member who is a Singaporean.

All 14 imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving their notice.

On Tuesday, the MOH confirmed that a previously reported imported case who arrived from India earlier this month "was probably re-infected" when he was in his home country and had been infectious when he came back here.

The 43-year-old Indian national then went on to infect his sister-in-law and her husband, both permanent residents here.

This comes as the ministry announced earlier on the same day a slew of revised border measures, including stricter ones for travellers arriving from India, to take effect from 11.59pm on Thursday.

According to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), at least 50 cases of a new "double mutant" Indian COVID-19 variant and 137 of the South African strain have been detected in Singapore.

There are also 144 submitted cases of the UK variant – or B.1.1.7 – in Singapore, as well as three cases of the Brazilian variant, the database showed. Recent occurrences of the various variants were logged by a team of medical researchers at the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL), one of whom was named as NPHL director Raymond Lin Tzer Pin.

The laboratory is one of the National Centre for Infectious Diseases' public health units.

Separately, the Ministry of Manpower on Wednesday announced that ten “recovered” workers living in Westlite Woodlands Dormitory were found to be infected with COVID-19.

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 36 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 60,576 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 70 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one of them is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 204 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 30 patients who have died from COVID-19 complications, 15 others who tested positive for the virus were determined to have died from unrelated causes, including three whose deaths were attributed to a heart attack and another four, whose deaths were attributed to coronary heart disease.

Among the 161 confirmed cases reported from 15 to 21 April, 58 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 85 have tested negative, and 18 serology test results are pending.

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