5 new COVID cases in S'pore; 1st local case in 16 days dined at Seoul Garden with several family members

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·5-min read
People relaxing by the beach at East Coast Park in Singapore.
People relaxing by the beach at East Coast Park in Singapore. (PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed five new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Thursday (26 November), taking the country’s total case count to 58,195.

There is one new case of locally-transmitted infection, the first of such case in 16 days. The four other cases are imported.

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

The sole locally-transmitted case has been classified as an unlinked case in the community.

The 32-year-old Singaporean man is a service engineer at Master Systems Marine and his job entails going onboard vessels docked at Marina South Pier and West Coast Pier for servicing and maintenance of ships’ navigational systems, said the MOH.

“He typically worked alone, and had no interaction with vessel crew except for supervising crew member,” the ministry added.

On days when he was not working onboard vessels, he had remained at his office located at Vertex Building Tower B at 33 Ubi Avenue 3.

He reported that he wore a surgical mask during his work onboard the vessels and at the office, and that safe distancing and safe management measures were adhered to, said the MOH.

Local case had dinner at Seoul Garden with 12 family members

The man had developed a fever and sore throat on Monday (23 November) night and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where he was tested for COVID-19 under the enhanced community testing regime.

He was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases the following day, when his test came back positive.

“His serological test has come back negative, indicating that this is a fresh infection,” said the MOH.

Epidemiological investigations, which are in progress, revealed that two days prior to his symptoms developing, he had dinner with 12 family members at Seoul Garden at Tampines Mall and visited the outlet from 5.45pm to 8.55pm.

They had occupied three tables and intermingled between groups.

Amongst those present at the dinner was his two-year-old niece, who had earlier been issued a five-day medical certificate – from 20 to 24 November – for having a runny nose.

“She has since been tested negative for COVID-19 infection. Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been any breach of the relevant safe management measures,” said the MOH.

All of the man’s identified close contacts, including his family members at the dinner, have been isolated and placed on quarantine and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period, it added.

Serological tests will also be conducted on his household and family contacts to determine if he could have been infected by them.

The Seoul Garden outlet, along with three other venues, were on Thursday added to a list of places visited by community cases while infectious.

Four imported cases; 5,000 from community groups tested negative

Amongst the four imported cases, two – five- and eight-year-old girls – are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from Pakistan.

The remaining two cases are currently employed in Singapore – one is a work permit holder who arrived from Malaysia and the other is a work pass holder who arrived from Nepal.

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

In a separate press release on the same day, the ministry said that more than 5,000 individuals – consisting of identified community groups such as stallholders, food delivery personnel, and cashiers – have been tested at Marine Parade, Ang Mo Kio and Taman Jurong since September.

All who have participated in these voluntary testing exercises have tested negative for COVID-19, it added.

“The results of the community testing operations indicate very low prevalence rates in the community, and is an indicator that our safe management measures are helping to keep our community safe,” said the MOH, adding that authorities will be reaching out to other identified community groups to offer COVID-19 testing on a one-time basis.

In the coming weeks, COVID-19 testing will be offered to those working at key delivery centres – such as Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre – and key logistics delivery companies, it added.

COVID-19 testing to stallholders in and around Tekka Centre will be offered this week and conducted near Little India MRT station.

On Tuesday, the ministry announced that there are no active COVID-19 clusters for the first time since 3 February.

99% of total cases have recovered; 1 in ICU

With 13 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday, 58,104 cases – or 99.8 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 43 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 20 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 28 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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