Of 27 new COVID cases in Singapore, 17 linked to Bukit Merah View market cluster

·Editorial Team
·6 min read
A healthcare worker is stationed at a swab test site in a public housing estate after a nearby food centre became a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cluster, in Singapore, June 16, 2021. REUTERS/Caroline Chia
A healthcare worker seen stationed at a swab test site in a public housing estate in Singapore on 16 June, 2021. (PHOTO: Reuters)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (17 June) confirmed 27 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 62,366.

Twenty of them are local cases in the community. Of them, 17 – out of 19 linked cases – are linked to the 115 Bukit Merah View market and food centre cluster. 

Thursday marks the 53rd consecutive day with local cases reported. 

Seven remaining cases are imported, including one Singaporean and two permanent residents who returned from India. Three others are work permit holders who arrived from Indonesia and Malaysia, of whom two are foreign domestic workers while a 26-year-old man entered Singapore waters from Indonesia without valid documentation, and was arrested by the Police Coast Guard. 

"Amongst the new cases today, 12 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while 15 were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The sole unlinked community case is a 72-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a counter staff at Tiong Bahru Plaza's McDonald‘s outlet. The fully-vaccinated woman was detected when she was tested for COVID-19 on 16 June as part of surveillance testing for staff who work at the shopping centre.

Separately, a 12-year-old female PR, a student at Tanglin Trust School, was identified as linked to a previously reported case but not to any active cluster.

The MOH also announced the closure of three clusters – Learning Point, Jin Tai Tong Food Industries, and "Case 63336" – as there have been no cases linked to them for the past two incubation periods, or 28 days. Singapore currently has 41 active COVID-19 clusters.

The ministry noted that the number of new cases in the community has increased from 40 cases in the week before to 93 cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from seven cases in the week before to 18 cases in the past week.

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Bukit Merah View market cluster: 17 new cases, 56 in total

The cluster was first linked to a 74-year-old Singaporean man who works at a sundry store at the market. The fully-vaccinated man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 9 June.

Most of the 17 new cases – aged between three and 87 – are family members and household contacts of infections in the cluster. Of them, 12 had been quarantined earlier:

  • a 32-year-old female PR who works as an administrative staff at MSIG Insurance

  • a 73-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a stall assistant at Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu (fully vaccinated)

  • an 87-year-old Singaporean woman who works at a sundry store at the market

  • a 52-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a food store vendor at the market (fully vaccinated)

  • a 14-year-old female PR who is a student at Bukit Merah Secondary School

  • a 3-year-old Singaporean girl who does not attend any childcare facility

  • a 69-year-old female India national who is currently unemployed

  • a 50-year-old female India national who is currently unemployed

  • a 5-year-old male PR who is a student at Henderson's PCF Sparkletots Preschool

  • a 13-year-old female PR who is a student at Bukit Merah Secondary School

  • a 62-year-old Singaporean woman who is a homemaker (fully vaccinated)

  • a 69-year-old Singaporean man who is a retiree, and helps out at a food stall at the market (fully vaccinated)

Five cases were detected via surveillance testing:

  • a 60-year-old Singaporean woman who works at Bioinfocomm and is a frequent visitor to the market (fully vaccinated)

  • a 36-year-old Singaporean man who works as a shipping operator at Skyline Shipping and is a frequent visitor to 116 Bukit Merah View

  • a 65-year-old Singaporean man who works as a part-time food stall assistant at the market

  • a 23-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a patient service associate at Singapore General Hospital (fully vaccinated)

  • a 10-year-old Singaporean girl who is a student at Zhangde Primary School

The MOH announced that it is investigating cases of COVID-19 amongst those who work in or have visited 78, 79, 80, 84 and 85 Redhill Lane, 86 Redhill Close, 18 Jalan Membina and Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu Coffeeshop at 56 Eng Hoon Street.

The ministry said it will be conducting special testing operations for all staff and tenants who have been working at these premises. Free COVID-19 testing will also be extended to members of the public who visited these places between 1 and 15 June:

  • Any of the shops at 78, 79, 80, 84 and 85 Redhill Lane and 86 Redhill Close between 1 and 15 June

  • Any of the shops at 18 Jalan Membina between 9 and 15 June

  • Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu Coffeeshop between 7 and 14 June

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'Case 64184' cluster: 1 new case, 13 in total

The cluster is named after the case number of a 27-year-old male India national who works as an engineer at Ecoxplore and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 12 June.

The new addition to the cluster is a 52-year-old Singaporean man who works as a private hire driver for Tada. As the fully-vaccinated man had been identified as a close contact of a previously reported case in the cluster, he was placed on quarantine on 15 June.

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 29 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday, 61,960 cases – or 99.3 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 151 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one of them is in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 221 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 34 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 130 confirmed cases reported from 11 to 17 June, 45 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 66 have tested negative, and 19 serology test results are pending.

Finance Minister and multi-ministry taskforce (MTF) co-chair Lawrence Wong in a Facebook video post on Wednesday raised the possibility of a delay in the next stage of Singapore's re-opening, due to the growing cluster at the Bukit Merah View market.

With this in mind, Wong said the government is "evaluating the timeline and the scope of our second stage of opening" and, in consultation with public health experts, would announce its decision soon.

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Related stories:

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Lawrence Wong raises possible delay in next stage of reopening

Bukit Merah View Market COVID cluster grows to 39 cases

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