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COVID-19: Singapore confirms 39 new cases, including 4 in the community

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·5-min read
A man looks on his mobile phone while fishing along a beach in Singapore on April 13, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)
A man looks on his mobile phone while fishing along a beach in Singapore on April 13, 2021. (Photo by Roslan RAHMAN / AFP) (Photo by ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 39 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Saturday (17 April), taking the country's total case count to 60,808.

Among them are four community cases. 

The rest are imported cases, of which 10 are Singaporeans or Singapore permanent residents, and eight are foreign domestic workers. They had all already been placed on Stay-Home Notice (SHN) upon arrival in Singapore and were tested while serving SHN.

Two community cases unlinked

Two of the cases in the community are linked to a previous case and two are currently unlinked.

One of the unlinked cases is a 35-year-old Singaporean man who works as a freelance photographer. He was detected when he was tested on 15 April for COVID-19 as part of the Singapore Armed Force’s protocol to test national servicemen at the start of their in-camp training. 

His pooled test on 15 April came back positive for COVID-19, and an individual swab done on 16 April was also positive for COVID-19 infection. He was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and developed a fever on the same day. 

Another test conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) on 16 April was negative for COVID-19 infection but a subsequent test on 17 April by NPHL was again positive for COVID-19. His serological test result has come back positive, which is indicative of a past infection. 

He could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection, the ministry said, "but given that we are not able to definitively conclude when he had been infected, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure."

The other unlinked case is a 41-year-old female Singapore permanent resident. She works as an accountant at OM Universal Pte Ltd (11 Kaki Bukit Road 1) but had not gone to work since onset of symptoms. 

She developed a cough in the evening of 14 April after work, and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where she was tested for COVID-19. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on 16 April and she was conveyed to NCID in an ambulance. 

Her serology test result is pending. One of her household contacts is a work pass holder who arrived from India on 2 April. He tested positive for COVID-19 infection on 2 April but was subsequently assessed to be a recovered case based on his positive serology result on 4 April.

Two community cases linked to a past case

One of the linked community cases is a 31-year-old female Swiss national who is a work pass holder. She is a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore and colleague of Case 61993, and had interacted with him on 12 April, the ministry said. 

She developed a sore throat on 15 April but did not seek medical treatment. As she had been identified as a close contact of Case 61993, she was contacted by the MOH on 16 April and placed on quarantine. She reported her symptom and was conveyed in an ambulance to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital where she was tested for COVID-19. Her test came back positive for COVID-19 infection on 16 April. 

Her serology test result is pending.

The other linked case is a 35-year-old male Indian national who is a work pass holder. He is the brother of Case 61993, and his household contact. 

He works at DBS Bank (2 Changi Business Park Crescent) but has largely been working from home. He last went back to his workplace between 6 April and 9 April. 

As he had been identified as a close contact of Case 61993, he was placed on home quarantine on 15 April. He developed a fever on 16 April and was conveyed in an ambulance to NCID after he informed MOH of his symptom. He was tested for COVID-19 and his test came back positive on 17 April. 

His serology test result is pending.

Details of 35 imported cases

Among the 35 imported cases: 

  • Five are Singaporeans and another five are Singapore permanent residents who returned from Brazil, Egypt, India, Indonesia and Liberia. 

  • Four are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from Nepal. 

  • One is a student’s pass holder who arrived from India. 

  • One is a work pass holder who arrived from India. 

  • 17 are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, of whom eight are foreign domestic workers.

  • Two are short-term visit pass holders. One had arrived from Bahrain for a work project in Singapore and the other had arrived from India to visit his family member who is a Singapore permanent resident.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from two cases in the week before to seven cases in the past week, the MOH said. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from two cases in the week before to four cases in the past week. 

99% of total cases have recovered, 2 in ICU

With 17 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Saturday, 60,463 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 62 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two of them are in the intensive care unit.

A total of 253 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 175 confirmed cases reported from 11 April to 17 April, 51 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 84 have tested negative, and 40 serology test results are pending.

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