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24 new community cases in Singapore, including 13 linked to Changi Airport cluster

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SINGAPORE: Twenty-four community cases were among 52 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Friday (May 14), said the Ministry of Health (MOH). 

This is the highest number of new daily COVID-19 cases since Jan 30, when 58 cases were reported. 

Twenty of the new community cases are linked to previous clusters, of which 13 have been linked to the Changi Airport cluster. Among them, 16 cases have already been placed on quarantine earlier. 

Four cases are currently unlinked. 

NEW CLUSTER AT LEARNING POINT

Five cases have been linked to a new cluster at Learning Point, a tuition centre. There are four boys and one girl, aged seven to nine. Two of them are from St Stephen’s School while another two are from Kong Hwa School. The remaining case is from St Andrew’s Junior School. 

The first detected case at the cluster was Case 63131, a 50-year-old Singaporean tutor who works at the centre. She was confirmed to have COVID-19 on May 12.

All of them had attended Case 63131’s classes at Learning Point, located at Parkway Centre. 

The five students developed symptoms prior to being diagnosed with COVID-19, such as fever or runny nose. The cluster now has a total of 6 cases. 

NEW CLUSTER LINKED TO SENGKANG GENERAL HOSPITAL NURSE

A 39-year-old Philippine national who works at Unity Pharmacy is a household contact of Case 63096, a Philippine national who works as an operating theatre nurse at Sengkang General Hospital. 

He is also a family member of Case 63122, a seven-year-old Filipino boy who is a student at Yio Chu Kang Primary School. 

This new cluster currently has a total of three cases.

88-YEAR-OLD LINKED TO TAN TOCK SENG HOSPITAL CLUSTER

Another case has been added to the cluster at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH). 

The 88-year-old Singaporean man had been warded in Ward 9D from Apr 19. He was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Apr 29 and has been warded there since. 

He was tested for COVID-19 daily from May 2 and all his test results were negative for COVID-19. 

On May 12, his test came back positive. His serology test result is negative.

READ: Group sizes down from 5 to 2, dining-in suspended as Singapore tightens COVID-19 measures

READ: Several students who tested positive for COVID-19 linked to private tutor at tuition centre: MOH

CHANGI AIRPORT CLUSTER GROWS

A principal at a language school is among the 13 new cases linked to the cluster at Changi Airport. There is also a Singaporean who works as an administrative staff member at the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). 

The other cases include a service officer who works at Ngee Ann City, a sales executive who works at Changi Airport Terminal 3, two Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officers who were deployed at Terminal 3, as well as two cleaners who work at Kopitiam Square in Sengkang. 

There is also a 91-year-old homemaker who is a household contact of a previously confirmed case, an IT support engineer employed by Idemia Singapore who was deployed to Changi Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 4, a cleaner from Ramky Cleantech Services who worked at Robinson 77, and two Certis Cisco aviation security officers.

FOUR UNLINKED CASES

The unlinked cases include a fully vaccinated Chinese national employed by SATS Food Services as a chef at Changi Prison. He developed a fever and runny nose on May 12 after work and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner (GP) clinic where he was tested for COVID-19. 

His test result came back positive the next day and his serology test result is pending. The man had received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Mar 23 and the second dose on Apr 10.

The second case is a Singaporean who works as a cook at WOK HEY at White Sands Shopping mall. The 22-year-old developed a fever, cough and runny nose on the evening of May 10 and sought medical treatment at a GP clinic the next day where he was tested for COVID-19. 

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His test result came back positive on May 13 and his serology test result is pending.

Another unlinked case, a 70-year-old Singaporean, is a retiree. She developed a fever and cough on the evening of May 10 and sought medical treatment at a GP clinic the next day where she was tested for COVID-19. Her test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on May 13 and her serology test result is pending.

The remaining unlinked case is a GrabFood delivery man. The 48-year-old Singaporean developed a fever, cough and sore throat on the night of May 12 and sought medical treatment at Singapore General Hospital the next day where he was tested for COVID-19. 

His test came back positive on May 14, and his serology test result is pending.

6 SINGAPOREANS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 28 cases reported on Friday were imported and were placed on stay-home notice upon their arrival in Singapore. 

Six Singaporeans and 13 permanent residents who returned from India, Indonesia, South Korea and the United Kingdom are among the cases.

Three imported cases are work pass holders who arrived from Nepal and Papua New Guinea. Four cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, Indonesia and the Philippines, of whom three are foreign domestic workers. 

The remaining two imported cases are a student’s pass holder who arrived from Thailand and a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from Indonesia to seek medical treatment and visit his family member who is a permanent resident.

MOH said the short-term visit pass holder was already receiving medical care in Singapore, and had returned for follow-up treatment. 

The 70-year-old man arrived from Indonesia on Apr 23 and served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until May 7. His swab done on May 6 during the stay-home notice was negative for COVID-19. 

The Indonesia national is asymptomatic and was detected when he was tested for COVID-19 on May 12 in preparation for surgery. His test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day, although the Ct value was very high. This is indicative of a low viral load, said MOH. 

His serological test result has also come back positive. 

“Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported. He is likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others,” said MOH. 

No new infections were reported in foreign workers’ dormitories.

INCREASE IN OVERALL NEW COMMUNITY CASES

MOH said the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from 43 cases in the week before to 91 cases in the past week. 

The number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from nine cases in the week before to 16 cases in the past week. 

Among the 194 confirmed cases reported from May 8 to May 14, a total of 66 cases have tested positive for their serology tests while 88 have tested negative. A further 40 serology test results are pending.

Eighteen more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore’s total recoveries to 61,047.

There are 180 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and three are in critical condition in the intensive care unit. Another 247 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

GATHERINGS LIMITED TO 2, NO DINING-IN

Group gatherings will be capped at two, down from the current five, as part of tightened restrictions announced on Friday. 

“This will apply across the board, so if you want to go out for anything, grocery shopping, exercise, maximum of two persons henceforth,” said Mr Lawrence Wong, the co-chair of the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force.

Households will also be allowed to receive only two distinct visitors a day. The previous limit was five.

READ: Additional COVID-19 antigen rapid testing to be rolled out for people with symptoms

READ: Public transport can be ‘very safe’ if commuters keep their masks on and refrain from talking, says transport minister

Other measures that were introduced included a suspension of dining-in at food outlets, while working from home will again be the default at workplaces.

The new restrictions take effect from Sunday until Jun 13.

As of Friday, Singapore has reported a total of 61,505 COVID-19 cases and 31 fatalities from the disease.

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