Lone community case, a homemaker, among 30 new COVID infections in Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
Workers perform maintenance work on the dome of the Apple store at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.
Workers perform maintenance work on the dome of the Apple store at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. (PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 30 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Friday (15 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,059.

There is one new case of locally-transmitted infection, classified as an infection in the community. The remaining 29 cases are imported.

“Amongst the new cases today, 27 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while three were symptomatic,” said the MOH.

The lone community case, currently unlinked, is a 57-year-old Singaporean woman who is a homemaker. She is asymptomatic and was detected when she took a COVID-19 pre-departure test on 13 January in preparation for a trip to Vietnam.

Her result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day and she was conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance.

“Her polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test yielded a high Ct value, which is indicative of a low viral load. Her serological test result has also come back positive, which indicates a likely past infection,” said the MOH.

It added that epidemiological investigations are ongoing and all identified close contacts of the infected woman, including her family members, have been isolated and quarantined.

They will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period. Serological tests will also be conducted for her close contacts to determine if she could have been infected by them.

The MOH also noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from eight cases in the week before to two cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from five cases in the week before to two cases in the past week.

It also added several locations to a list of public venues visited by cases in the community while they are infectious. They include multiple visits to Downtown East’s outlets, including Market Square, its FairPrice outlet, and Yam's Kitchen restaurant within E!Hub @ Downtown East.

Other places include White Sands, Tampines Mall, Eastpoint Mall’s Smiling Happi Feet Reflexology, Singapore Swimming Club’s The Palms as well as Raffles City Shopping Centre’s Toastbox outlet.

The newly-added venues were visited between 1 and 13 January.

29 imported cases, including 13 work permit holders

Of the new imported cases, one is a Singaporean while five are permanent residents who returned from the US, UK, and India.

One other case is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from India, while five additional cases are work pass holders who arrived from India, Pakistan, and the United Arab Emirates.

Thirteen of them are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar, of whom five are foreign domestic workers.

One is a sea crew holding a special pass who arrived from the United Arab Emirates onboard a vessel on 11 January and had not disembarked.

He was tested for COVID-19 and conveyed to the hospital when his result came back positive.

The three remaining cases are short-term visit pass holders, including two who arrived from India and Myanmar respectively to study in Singapore. The third short-term visit pass holder arrived from India to visit her spouse who is a PR.

All 29 imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were subsequently tested.

The MOH added that three of Friday’s cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh on 24 December last year and served their notices at dedicated facilities until 7 January.

Their swabs done on 4 January during their notices were negative for COVID-19, and subsequent tests on 8 and 10 January were also negative.

“Their tests on 13 January came back positive for COVID-19 infection, although the Ct values were very high, which are indicative of low viral loads. Their serological test results have also come back positive. Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified these cases as imported,” the ministry said.

“They are likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others.”

99% of total cases have recovered, none in ICU

With 14 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 58,771 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 51 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 208 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 29 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.

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