21 local cases among 28 new COVID infections in Singapore; 11 unlinked

·Editorial Team
·9 min read
SINGAPORE - 2021/05/16: Tables at a hawker center are cordoned off as no dining-in is allowed.
Tightened COVID-19 measures known as Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) starts from May 16 to Jun 13, 2021 with groups sizes reduced from 5 to 2 and no dining-in allowed. Food and beverages establishments will only be allowed to offer takeaway and delivery options as 'mask off' incidences are seen as a risk of transmission of COVID-19. (Photo by Lionel Ng/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Tables at a hawker center are cordoned off as no dining-in is allowed. Tightened COVID-19 measures under Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) starts from 16 May, 2021, to 13 June. (PHOTO: LightRocket via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 28 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Monday (17 May), taking the country's total case count to 61,613.

Of them, 21 are local transmissions in the community, with 10 linked to previous cases, including one to a new cluster identified at Marina Bay Sands Casino. Seven remaining cases are imported. 

Monday marks the 22nd consecutive day with local cases reported.

"Amongst the new cases today, nine are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while 19 were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The 11 unlinked cases, aged between 20 and 76, include two infections who have tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B.1.617. They are:

  • a 37-year-old Singaporean woman who is a teacher at Frontier Primary School (preliminarily positive for B.1.617 variant)

  • a 16-year-old male permanent resident who is a Singapore Polytechnic student (preliminarily positive for B.1.617 variant)

  • a 20-year-old Singaporean man who is a full-time national serviceman (fully vaccinated)

  • a 47-year-old Singaporean woman who works at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore

  • a 26-year-old Singaporean woman who is a National Institute of Education student and a part-time private tutor

  • a 76-year-old Singaporean woman who is a retiree

  • a 57-year-old Singaporean woman who works as an administrative personnel at Pacific Law Corporation

  • a 22-year-old Singaporean woman who works at Invade Industry

  • a 28-year-old Singaporean man who works as a retail assistant at Alan Photo in Funan Mall

  • a 45-year-old Indonesian woman employed by Clean Hub Facility as a cleaner at EuHabitat

  • a 32-year-old Singaporean man who works as an IT engineer at AbbVie Operations Singapore

Nine of the 11 unlinked cases' serology test results are pending. Two women – aged 76 and 22 – have tested negative on their serology tests.

Among the unlinked infections, several only sought medical treatment days after developing symptoms. 

This includes the 20-year-old man who developed a runny nose on 12 May but did not seek medical treatment until four days later when he also developed a cough, as well as the 57-year-old woman who developed a cough and sore throat on 12 May but did not seek medical treatment until three days later.

Separately, a 57-year-old Singaporean man who works as an engineer at 3M Innovation Singapore has been identified as linked to the 32-year-old man who is his family member and household contact.

The man received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 30 April and his serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

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New Marina Bay Sands Casino dealer cluster: 1 new case, 3 in total

The 16th active cluster in Singapore was first linked to two dealers at the casino, a 36-year-old Malaysian man and a 35-year-old Singaporean man.

A 34-year-old Malaysian man, currently unemployed and a household contact of his compatriot is the latest addition to the cluster.

The man has tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B.1.617, and is pending further confirmatory tests. His serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

Changi Airport cluster: 4 new cases, 78 in total

With four new infections linked to it, the Changi Airport cluster, or the "Case 62873" cluster, is now linked to 78 cases and the largest of 16 active clusters in Singapore. It is also the largest cluster recorded to date in Singapore, superseding the now-inactive cluster of 47 cases at Safra Jurong.

At least 20 cases in the cluster have tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B.1.617.

The cluster is named after an 88-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by Ramky Cleantech Services as a cleaner deployed at Changi Airport Terminal 3. The fully-vaccinated man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 5 May.

Among the four new cases linked to the cluster on Monday, only one works at Changi Airport:

  • a 49-year-old Singaporean woman employed by Certis Cisco as an aviation security officer at T3 (preliminarily positive for B.1.617 variant)

  • a 37-year-old Indonesian woman who is a foreign domestic worker (household contact of two cases; already quarantined)

  • a 63-year-old Singaporean woman who is a homemaker (household contact and family member of two cases; already quarantined and fully vaccinated)

  • an 8-year-old Singaporean boy who is a Fuchun Primary School student (household contact and family member of one case; already quarantined)

The 49-year-old woman's serology test result is pending. The remaining three tested negative on their serology tests, with the 63-year-old woman testing negative for the N antigen, which suggests the presence of early infection.

Learning Point cluster: 2 new cases, 20 in total

The "Case 63131" cluster is named after the case number of a 50-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a tutor at Learning Point at Parkway Centre and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 12 May. It is one of two new clusters identified last Friday.

  • a 7-year-old Singaporean girl who is a Maha Bodhi School student and attends student care at Seedlings World Student Care @ Frankel (close contact of a student case, already quarantined)

  • a 72-year-old Singaporean man who is a retiree (family member of a student case, fully vaccinated)

The girl tested negative on her serology test, while the man tested positive.

WOK HEY (White Sands) cluster: 1 new case, 4 in total

The cluster was one of two new ones identified on Sunday, comprising a Singaporean man, 22 who works as a cook at the shopping mall's WOK HEY outlet. The two others in the cluster, including a Singaporean woman, 26, who works as a customer service officer at Wareesan Management, are the man's family members and household contacts.

The latest case linked to the cluster is a 62-year-old Singaporean man who is a retiree as well as a family member and household contact of the three other cases in the cluster. His serology test result is pending, said the MOH.

The MOH said it strongly encouraged members of the public who visited White Sands from 2 to 11 May to take a free COVID-19 swab test. Special testing operations will also be conducted for staff who work in the mall.

One linked to chauffeur who tested preliminarily positive for India variant

She is a 36-year-old Filipino woman who is a foreign domestic worker. The woman was identified as a close contact of a 53-year-old Singaporean man who works as a personal chauffeur and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 14 May. The man also tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B.1.617, and is pending further confirmatory tests.

The woman was placed on quarantine on 14 May and has tested negative in her serology test, said the MOH.

The number of new cases in the community has increased from 32 in the week before to 149 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from seven in the week before to 42 in the past week.

Several new places have been added to the list of public venues visited by infectious community cases, including YWCA Fort Canning, eateries in Suntec City, and Thomson Plaza, a McDonald's outlet at Toa Payoh HDB Hub and Fu Lu Shou Complex.

TTSH to gradually resume patient admission

Separately, the Tan Tock Seng Hospital will gradually resume admission of patients, including the partial resumption of ambulance services to the TTSH, and allowing movement of healthcare workers into and out of the Novena campus to facilitate patient care, from Tuesday.

This is because there have been no new unlinked cases detected in the hospital since 28 April, said the MOH.

The resumption of clinical attachments and training for healthcare students will take place from 31 May. 

"As an additional precaution, all patients transferring from the TTSH and other acute hospitals to intermediate and long-term care facilities will be tested for COVID-19 within 48 hours of their scheduled transfer. We advise patients to defer non-urgent visits to the TTSH as it reopens its clinical services progressively," the ministry added.

To date, the cluster at the hospital has been linked to 46 cases and is the second-largest out of 16 active clusters in Singapore.

The increase in community cases has prompted authorities in Singapore to ramp up social distancing measures, starting from last Sunday through to 13 June as part of the "Phase 2 (Heightened Alert)" curbs.

These include a ban on dining-in at all food and beverage establishments, including hawker centres and food courts, and limiting social gatherings to two persons. All primary, secondary, junior college, and Millennia Institute students will shift to full home-based learning from Wednesday until 28 May.

Due to the detection of one case in each of the two schools, both Frontier Primary School and Fuchun Primary School have moved to full home-based learning from Monday.

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7 imported cases, including 7-year-old boy

Among them, two are Singaporeans who returned from India and Malaysia. 

Three others are dependant’s pass holders, including a seven-year-old boy, who arrived from the Philippines and Russia.

Another is a student's pass holder who arrived from France. 

The remaining case is a work permit holder who arrived from Malaysia. All seven imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice and were tested while serving their notice.

99% of total cases have recovered, 3 in ICU

With 19 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Monday, 61,123 cases – or 99.2 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 213 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while three of them are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 246 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 31 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 235 confirmed cases reported from 11 to 17 May, 71 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 142 have tested negative, and 22 serology test results are pending.

Read more about Singapore's Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) restrictions here.

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