SINGAPORE — At least 10 COVID-19 cases of the Indian variants have been detected in Singapore's community, with half linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster, including the 46-year-old Filipino nurse who is fully-vaccinated.
These 10 local cases are part of a total of 131 cases of the Indian variants – B.1.617 and B.1.617.1-3 – detected in Singapore as of Monday. Authorities had earlier announced that as of 20 April, there were 46 cases of the Indian variant, all imported, here.
Of the five cases of the Indian variants in the TTSH cluster, including the nurse, one is a fully-vaccinated doctor who attended to patients in Ward 9D, and the remaining three are patients of the ward aged between 57 and 79.
The TTSH or "Case 62541" cluster, named after the nurse's case number, has 40 cases, including one fatality, linked to it to date. An 88-year-old patient who stayed at the hospital's Ward 9D died due to complications from COVID-19 on Saturday.
The remaining five infected with the Indian variants include a 38-year-old Singaporean man who works as an Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 1, as well as a fully-vaccinated 39-year-old Vietnamese woman who works as a cleaner employed by Octo Jet Building Maintenance Services and deployed at a community care facility at Tuas South.
Both of them are linked to two separate clusters. The "Case 62517" cluster, named after the ICA's case number, has 11 cases linked to it, of which 10 are his family members. The "Case 62553" cluster, named after the cleaner's case number, has four cases linked to it.
The other three infected with the Indian variants are in the four-case "Case 62045" cluster, named after a 41-year-old female permanent resident who works as an accountant at OM Universal at 11 Kaki Bukit Road.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO)'s COVID-19 weekly epidemiological dated 27 April, over 1,200 sequences have been uploaded to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID), the world's largest database of novel coronavirus genome sequences, and assigned to lineage B.1.617 collectively from at least 17 countries.
It added that most sequences were uploaded from India, the UK, the USA, and Singapore. The B.1.617 lineage comprises several sub-lineages, including B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2, and B.1.617.3.
The WHO said that preliminary modelling by the organisation based on sequences submitted to the GISAID suggest that B.1.617 has a higher growth rate than other circulating variants in India, "suggesting potential increased transmissibility, with other co-circulating variants also demonstrating increased transmissibility".
As of Monday, Singapore also has 188 cases of the UK variant, of which seven are local cases, as well as 11 imported cases who have tested preliminarily positive for it. There are also 166 cases of the South African variant detected here, with eight of them local cases.
Three other local cases are of the Brazilian strain and 1 of the B.1.525 strain.
Altogether, there are 504 cases – 29 local cases and 475 imported – of various strains in Singapore as of Monday.
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