3 community cases among 23 new COVID infections in Singapore

SINGAPORE - JANUARY 10: People wearing protective masks wait to cross a street in the rain on January 10, 2021 in Singapore. As of January 10, the Ministry of Health confirmed 42 new imported COVID-19 cases, with zero cases in the wider community bringing the country's total to 58,907. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
People wearing protective masks wait to cross a street in the rain on 10 January, 2021 in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (28 April) confirmed 23 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,086.

There are three locally transmitted cases in the community, while the remaining 20 are imported. This marks the third day in a row with reported local cases.

"Amongst the new cases today, 16 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while seven were symptomatic," said the MOH.

All three community cases are unlinked. Among them is a fully-vaccinated nurse at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), of which the discovery has led to a lockdown of the general ward she works in.

All patients and staff who have been in the affected ward have been tested, and four more – three patients and a doctor – have tested preliminarily positive for COVID-19 so far.

The other case is a 38-year-old Singaporean man who works as an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 1, but had not gone to work after onset of symptoms.

He developed a cough on 23 April and sought medical treatment the next day at a general practitioner clinic, where he was given 2 days’ medical leave.

On 26 April, he developed a fever, anosmia and body aches, and sought medical treatment at TTSH the next day. He was tested for COVID-19 and his test came back positive on the same day.

The man's previous tests from the rostered routine testing regime – the last being on 22 April – were all negative for COVID-19. His serology test result is pending.

Another community case is a 58-year-old Singaporean man who works as a construction project manager in Nepal, and had been in there from 13 February to 13 December last year.

Upon his return to Singapore, he served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until 27 December, with a test taken on 23 December coming up negative for COVID- 19.

The man is asymptomatic, and was detected when he took a COVID-19 pre- departure test on 26 April in preparation for his trip back to Nepal.

His test result came back positive the next day, and he was conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in an ambulance. His serology test result is pending.

"His Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load. 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 MOH.

The ministry noted that the number of new cases in the community has increased from nine in the week before to 13 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from five in the week before to six in the past week.

It also added six new places to the list of public venues listed by COVID-19 community cases while they were infectious. They were visited between 23 and 27 April: Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang, J&K Design at Joo Chiat Complex, Mak’s Place – The Hawkerant at 401 Changi Road, Seoul Garden outlet at Bedok Mall, Sembawang Shopping Centre and an NTUC FairPrice outlet at 500 Lorong 6 Toa Payoh.

20 imported cases, including one linked to new cluster

Among the 20 imported cases, two are Singaporeans and one is a permanent resident who returned from India and the United Arab Emirates.

Another case is a dependant’s pass holder who arrived from Nepal. Five others are work pass holders who arrived from India, Japan, the Maldives, Nepal, and Uzbekistan.

Six cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Mexico, and the Philippines, of whom two are foreign domestic workers.

Four others are short-term visit pass holders, of whom three arrived from India to visit their family members who are Singaporeans or PRs. One of them is a third case linked to a new cluster named the "Case 62049" cluster, after the case number of a 79-year-old Indian national who arrived from India to visit his family member who is a PR.

The man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 16 April. The 75-year-old female Indian national, the latest linked to the sixth active cluster here, and the other linked case are his family members.

The fourth short-term visit pass holder arrived from the Philippines for a work project here.

The remaining case is a special pass holder who is a sea crew. He arrived from Indonesia on a vessel, and was tested onboard without disembarking.

All 20 imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were tested for COVID-19.

In a separate press release on Wednesday, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said over 5,500 workers were tested from 23 to 26 April during pre-emptive COVID-19 testing operations across various dormitories and worksites.

The MOH on Tuesday announced that 24 recovered workers were found to be positive for COVID-19, during special COVID-19 testing operations to test the residents at Westlite Woodlands Dormitory.

Of the 24 cases, 11 cases have been assessed to be shedding virus fragments, and five are likely to be cases of COVID-19, the ministry added.

Two more cases have been determined to be negative for COVID-19 upon re-testing, and the remaining six cases are pending assessment by the expert panel.

On Wednesday morning, two Republic of Singapore Air Force planes took off for India, carrying with them 256 oxygen cylinders from Singapore.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 14 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 60,718 cases – or 99.4 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 112 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while none is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 226 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 206 confirmed cases reported from 22 to 28 April, 90 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 85 have tested negative, and 31 serology test results are pending.

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