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40 new COVID cases in S'pore; 3 of 4 in community form new cluster

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·7-min read
SINGAPORE - JANUARY 10: People wearing protective masks shop on January 10, 2021 in Singapore. As of January 10, the Ministry of Health confirmed 42 new imported COVID-19 cases, with zero cases in the wider community bringing the country's total to 58,907. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)
People wearing protective masks shop on 10 January, 2021, in Singapore. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 40 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Wednesday (20 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,197.

There are four new cases of local transmissions, all in the community, of whom one is currently unlinked and three are linked to a previous case, forming a new cluster.

The remaining 36 cases are imported. Wednesday marks the seventh consecutive day of COVID-19 community cases.

“Amongst the new cases today, 36 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while four were symptomatic,” said the MOH.

3 linked to new local ‘case 59429’ cluster, 2 did not seek treatment when symptoms presented

Three community cases are employed at BS Industrial & Construction Supply at 34 Kallang Place, where a previouslyreported infection, a 39-year-old male permanent resident, works as a sales personnel. The man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 18 January.

All four of them form a new “case 59429” cluster, named after the man’s case number. It is the sixth live cluster of COVID-19 cases in Singapore.

One of the new cases is a 27-year-old Malaysian man who is a work pass holder and is identified as a co-worker of the older man.

The younger sales personnel developed a sore throat on 14 January, and loss of smell and taste on 18 January but did not seek medical treatment and continued to go to work.

As he had been identified as a close contact of his older co-worker, he was contacted by the MOH on 18 January and conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital when he reported these symptoms.

He was tested at the hospital, and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day.

The other infected co-worker is a 29-year-old Malaysian woman, also a work pass holder and a sales personnel.

She developed a sore throat and difficulty in breathing on 16 January but did not seek medical treatment and continued to go to work and interact in the community.

As she had been identified as a close contact of her older co-worker, she was contacted by the MOH on 18 January and conveyed to National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) when she reported these symptoms. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day.

The third case is a 28-year-old Malaysian woman, also a work pass holder, who works at the same place as a finance personnel.

She developed a cough on 19 January. On the same day, she was quarantined as a close contact of the older man and was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital when she reported her symptom.

She subsequently tested positive for COVID-19 infection, and was warded at the NCID on the same day.

All three cases’ serology test results have come back negative, indicating that they are likely having a current infection.

“Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been any breach of the relevant prevailing safe management measures at their workplace. The government takes a serious view of any breach and will take actions should there be non-compliance,” said the MOH.

Software engineer sole unlinked community case

The remaining community case, currently unlinked, is a 46-year-old male Indian national who is a work pass holder, and works as a software engineer at APAR Technologies at 4 Shenton Way.

He had travelled to India between 9 March and 29 October last year, and the United Arab Emirates between 29 October and 13 November.

He served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility upon his return to Singapore until 27 November, and his swab done on 23 November during the notice was negative for COVID-19.

He is asymptomatic, and was detected when he took a COVID-19 pre-departure test on 19 January in preparation for a trip back to India.

His result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day and he was conveyed to the NCID.

“His Ct value is very high, which is indicative of a low viral load, and his serology test result has come back positive. These indicate a likely past infection,” said the MOH.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing and all identified close contacts of the community cases, including their family and household members, as well as 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.

The MOH said that the number of new cases in the community has increased from four in the week before to 18 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from two in the week before to six in the past week.

Another 18 locations were added to the list of public places visited by COVID-19 cases in the community while infectious on specific dates and times between 6 January and 19 January.

The locations are:

Shahi Maharani North Indian Restaurant at Raffles City Shopping Centre, Anjappar at Westgate, S111 Eating House (26A Kallang Place), Frienzie Bar & Bistro (10 Tebing Lane), Dong Bei Cuisine (83 Geylang Road), Anytime Fitness Kovan at Jforte Sportainment Centre, Al Falah Barakah Restaurant (363 Joo Chiat Road), Brewerkz at Riverside Point, Good Cheer Pub (8 Maju Avenue), Ananda Bhavan Vegetarian (95 Syed Alwi Road), Canopy (1382 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1), National Museum of Singapore, Angel & Devil (22 Keong Saik Road), SUN Beauty House (3 New Bugis Street), Puteca Abate at The Working Capitol, Upper Boon Keng Market & Food Centre, S111 Eating House (26A Kallang Place) and Prata Wala at Jurong Point.

36 imported cases, majority work permit holders

Amongst the 36 imported cases, one is a Singaporean and one is a permanent resident who returned from Canada and India respectively.

Two other cases are a dependant’s pass holder – a nine-year-old girl – and a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from India.

Four others are student’s pass holders, including another nine-year-old girl, who arrived from India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, and the Slovak Republic.

Another four are work pass holders who arrived from India and Ireland.

Twenty are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Myanmar, of whom seven are foreign domestic workers.

The remaining four cases are short-term visit pass holders, including two who arrived from India to visit their Singaporean relatives. The other two cases arrived from Myanmar and the US for work assignments here.

All 26 imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving their notices.

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 32 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 58,926 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 45 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 197 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.

Amongst the 213 cases reported from 14 to 20 January, 118 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 36 have tested negative, and 59 serology test results are pending.

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