Cleaner may be source of infection for JEM/Westgate COVID cluster: MOH

·Editorial Team
·2 min read
JEM shopping mall. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
JEM shopping mall. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A cleaner may be the source of infection of the JEM/Westgate COVID-19 cluster, the Ministry of Health said on Monday (24 May).

The fully vaccinated cleaner is a 53-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a cleaner at Park Avenue Rochester, a Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) dedicated facility. 

Her work does not entail interacting with the guests on SHN at the hotel. 

The woman developed a runny nose and sore throat at the end of her work day on 5 May, and fever the next day. She sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic and was tested for COVID-19. Her test result came back positive on 7 May, and she was conveyed to Singapore General Hospital in an ambulance. 

She received her first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on 24 January, and the second dose on 16 February.

The woman, who is Case 62933, had been at Westgate on 6 May, MOH said in its daily COVID-19 report. "Whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory have revealed that some of the visitors to JEM and Westgate have similar sequences to that of Case 62933. Further investigations into the mode of transmission are ongoing," MOH said.

The JEM/Westgate cluster is now linked to 50 cases, the second largest active cluster out of 30 after Changi's 108-case cluster. 

On Sunday, MOH said JEM and Westgate will be closed to the public for two weeks from Sunday to break any potential chain of transmission of COVID-19. The malls will be deep cleaned and are due to re-open on 6 June.

MOH has conducted special testing operations for staff who work at both premises. It has offered free COVID-19 testing for members of the public who had visited JEM and Westgate from 10 May to 14 May. 

In view of the additional cases detected, free COVID-19 testing will be extended to all individuals who had visited JEM and Westgate from 10 May to 22 May. All visitors to the two malls since 10 May are also advised to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit. 

They are encouraged to visit a Regional Screening Centre or “Swab and Send Home” (SASH) Public Health Preparedness Clinic for a free COVID-19 test if they feel unwell.

On Monday, MOH confirmed 36 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,860.

Of them, 24 are local transmissions in the community, of whom 22 are linked to previous cases. Among them, 12 had already been quarantined earlier.

Twelve remaining cases are imported, including five Singaporeans or permanent residents.

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