One dormitory resident among 38 new COVID cases in Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
Pedestrians crossing a street in the rain in Singapore.
Pedestrians crossing a street in the rain in Singapore. (PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 38 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Wednesday (13 January), taking the country’s total case count to 58,984.

There is one new case of locally-transmitted infection who resides in a foreign worker dormitory, the first since 15 December. The remaining 37 cases are imported.

“Amongst the new cases today, 34 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while four were symptomatic,” said the MOH.

The sole local transmission, currently unlinked, is a work permit holder who arrived from India on 11 December last year, and served the stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until 25 December.

His swab done on 21 December during the notice was negative for COVID-19. He tested negative again six days later.

He resides at Seatown Dormitory and started work in the construction sector on 6 January.

A subsequent test taken on 12 January as part of the rostered routine testing regime came back positive for COVID-19, the MOH said, adding that his serological test result is also positive.

“Given the relatively long time interval between his travel and positive COVID-19 test, we have classified this case as locally transmitted while epidemiological investigations are in progress.” the ministry added.

All the identified close contacts of the case, including his dorm contacts and co-workers, have been isolated and quarantined, 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 the case could have been infected by them.

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37 new imported cases, including 21 work permit holders

Three of the 37 imported cases are Singaporeans and five are permanent residents who returned from France, India, Indonesia, the UK, and the US. One of the PRs who arrived from India is a nine-year-old girl who is a contact of a previously confirmed case, a 37-year-old female PR who arrived from India.

One is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from Indonesia. Four others are work pass holders who arrived from India and the United Arab Emirates.

A total of 21 cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines, of whom eight are foreign domestic workers.

One of the work permit holders is a sea crew who worked onboard bunker tanker NewOcean 6 and brings the total number of COVID-19 cases linked to it to 12.

He was identified as close contacts of an infected fellow crew member – case 588121 – who was the first confirmed infection from the NewOcean 6 cluster. The man was quarantined on 31 December. He was tested during quarantine and confirmed to have COVID-19 on 12 January.

Three others are short-term visit pass holders, of whom two are family members of Singaporeans or PRs who arrived from Poland and India respectively. The third case arrived from Brazil to participate in an eSport event.

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

The ministry noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 12 cases in the week before to four 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 added.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 28 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 58,722 cases – or 99.6 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 56 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 177 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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