Fully-vaccinated dorm resident among 14 new COVID cases in Singapore

Close up of hand drawing out vaccine liquid from a vial
Close up of hand drawing out vaccine liquid from a vial. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 14 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Tuesday (20 April) including one new case of locally transmitted infection, taking the country's total case count to 60,865.

The local case resides in a dormitory, while the remaining 13 cases are imported. "Amongst the new cases today, 10 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while four were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The sole local case is a 35-year-old male Bangladesh national who arrived in Singapore in July 2019 and resides at Westlite Woodlands Dormitory.

The work permit holder is employed by Prosper Environmental & Engineering as a construction supervisor and works at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard.

The MOH said that the man developed a runny nose on 16 April but did not report his symptom. On the same day, he was tested for COVID-19 as part of the rostered routine testing regime.

"His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 on 18 April, and he was immediately isolated and conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance. An individual test was done on 18 April, and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day," said the MOH.

The man's earlier tests from the rostered routine testing – the last being on 9 April – were all negative for COVID-19. His serology test result has come back positive but this is likely a current infection, added the MOH.

The ministry said that the man received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on 12 March, and the second dose on 13 April.

They "likely" accounted for his positive serology test result as he has produced antibodies following vaccination, the MOH added.

"However as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination, he was likely to have been infected before he was conferred protection after vaccination," it said.

Epidemiological investigations are in progress while all the identified close contacts of the case, including his dorm and workplace contacts, have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period. Serological tests will also be conducted for the close contacts to determine if he could have been infected by them.

The MOH noted 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 two in the week before to four in the past week.

13 imported cases, including one Singaporean

Among the 13 imported cases, one is a Singaporean, and two are permanent residents who returned from India and the Philippines.

Another is a 34-year-old male Indian national, a dependant’s pass holder, who arrived from Sri Lanka, who is Tuesday's fourth symptomatic case.

Four others are work pass holders who arrived from India and Malaysia. Two of them, a 31-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man are among Tuesday's four symptomatic cases.

Another four are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar, of whom one is a foreign domestic worker.

The remaining case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to visit her family member who is a Singaporean.

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

Separately, 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 Tuesday a slew of revised border measures, including stricter ones for travellers arriving from India, to take effect from 11.59pm on Thursday.

The US on the same day warned against travel to India, where authorities there had imposed tighter restrictions.

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 37 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Tuesday, 60,540 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 74 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one of them is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 221 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 173 confirmed cases reported from 14 to 20 April, 66 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 89 have tested negative, and 18 serology test results are pending.

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