Singapore's Jem/Westgate cluster grows to 60 COVID cases

·Editorial Team
·9 min read
People seen along Orchard Road shopping belt on 25 May 2021, amid Singapore's Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
People seen along Orchard Road shopping belt on 25 May 2021, amid Singapore's Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (26 May) confirmed 26 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, taking the country's total case count to 61,916.

Of them, 24 are local cases: 23 are in the community and one resides in a migrant worker dormitory. Twenty-one of them are linked to past cases, of whom 14 have already been quarantined. 

Two remaining cases are imported: a foreign domestic worker who arrived from Indonesia and a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from the United Arab Emirates to visit his Singaporean family member.

Wednesday marks the 31st consecutive day with local cases reported. "Amongst the new cases today, six are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while 20 were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The ministry also identified two new COVID-19 clusters, bringing the total number of active clusters in Singapore to 34. 

The sole dorm case is the fifth infection linked to the Harvest @ Woodlands dorm cluster and was placed on quarantine on 22 May. He is a 22-year-old male India national who works as a general worker at H&W Communications and the roommate of the first case linked to the cluster.

The three unlinked cases in the community are:

  • a 58-year-old Singaporean woman who works at Chevy’s Bar and Bistro (received first dose of vaccine)

  • a 38-year-old Malaysian man who works at Rong Chang F&B Services

  • a 24-year-old Malaysia man who works at McDonald’s (The Woodgrove)

Separately, there are four cases linked to other infections but are not part of any active clusters yet, including a 52-year-old Singaporean woman who also works at Chevy’s Bar and Bistro as a server.

The three remaining linked contacts are family members and household or workplace contacts of previously reported cases:

  • a 64-year-old Singaporean woman who is a homemaker (already quarantined)

  • a 20-year-old Singaporean woman who is a National University of Singapore student, and works part-time at Poke Theory

  • a 38-year-old Singaporean permanent resident who works at Tektronix Southeast Asia

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 187 in the week before to 165 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from 40 in the week before to 30 in the past week.

Several new places have also been added to the list of public venues visited by infectious community cases, including Mandai Crematorium and Columbarium Complex, a FairPrice Finest outlet at Le Quest Mall, Eccellente by HAO Mart at KINEX and a McDonald’s outlet at Woodgrove.

In a separate press release, the ministry announced that from 11.59pm on 29 May, the pre-departure testing requirement will be extended to all Singapore residents. This means Singaporeans and PRs entering or transiting through Singapore, except for those who have stayed in lower-risk countries or regions throughout the last 21 days before departure for Singapore, will need to present a valid negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure for Singapore. 

Two new clusters, 34 in total

  1. Hong Ye Group cleaners cluster, 3 in total: The first case linked to the cluster is a 31-year-old Singaporean man who is employed by the company as a cleaner at Changi Business Park and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 19 May. His colleague, a 25-year-old Singaporean woman, is the third and latest case to be added to the cluster. She had been placed on quarantine on 22 May.

  2. "Case 63708" cluster, 3 in total: The cluster is named after a 15-year-old Singaporean boy who is a Westwood Secondary School student and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 24 May. The third and latest case to be added to the cluster is a 74-year-old Malaysian man who is a retiree. The family member and household contact of a case in the cluster was placed on quarantine on 25 May. He had received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on 19 March.

Jem/Westgate cluster: 7 new cases, 60 in total

At 60 cases, it is the second-largest out of 34 active clusters, after Changi Airport's 108-case cluster. 

On Monday, three clusters were subsumed into the Jem/Westgate cluster. Authorities have also identified a potential source of transmission for the JEM/Westgate cluster: a 53-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a cleaner at Park Avenue Rochester, a stay-home-notice dedicated facility.

Four of the seven new cases added on Wednesday had been quarantined earlier and are family members or household contacts, or both, of previous cases in the cluster:

  • a 6-year-old Singaporean girl who is a Concord Primary School student

  • an 11-year-old Singaporean boy who is a Concord Primary School student

  • a 29-year-old Singaporean man who works as a technician at Singapore Refining Company

  • an 18-year-old Singaporean boy who is an ITE College West student

The remaining three either travel frequently to Jem for work or had visited the shopping mall:

  • a 67-year-old Singaporean man who works as a delivery driver for DCH Auriga (Singapore) (tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B1617; fully vaccinated)

  • a 28-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a hairdresser at Kimage Hair Salon (Lot 1) (visited Jem on 9 May)

  • a 30-year-old female PR who works as a pastor at Grace Assembly Church. (visited Jem on 11 May)

Learning Point cluster: 1 new case, 32 in total

The cluster was first linked to 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.

The new addition, who had been quarantined on 23 May, is a 35-year-old Thai woman who works as a staff at Santai Café at United World College. She is a family member and household contact of a case in the cluster.

McDonald’s delivery riders cluster: 2 new cases, 15 in total

The cluster was first linked to a 27-year-old Malaysian man who works as a delivery rider for IVIC Logistic and McDonald’s (Bedok Reservoir). He was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 20 May. Four cases in the cluster work at a Pizza Hut outlet at Punggol Plaza.

The two new cases are:

  • a 41-year-old female PR who works as a receptionist at Wanderloft Hostel, and a part-time waitress at Collins (Nex) (quarantined earlier)

  • a 58-year-old Singaporean woman who works as a kitchen staff and service crew at McDonald’s (Pasir Ris Elias Community Club) (received first dose of vaccine)

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Changi Prison Complex cluster: 1 new case, 12 in total

The cluster at the prison was first linked to a 39-year-old male China national who is a chef at its complex. The fully-vaccinated man was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 13 May.

The latest addition, a 49-year-old Singaporean man who is a prison inmate there, brings the total number of inmates in the cluster to nine. The man had tested negative for COVID-19 in five prior tests.

'Case 63236' cluster: 1 new case, 8 in total

The cluster is named after the case number of a 53-year-old Singaporean man who works as a personal chauffeur and confirmed to have COVID-19 on 14 May. The man also tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B.1.617.

The latest addition to the cluster is a family member and household contact of two cases: a 31-year-old man from Hong Kong who works as a senior executive at Endowus and was placed on quarantine on 14 May.

MBS casino dealers cluster: 1 new case, 7 in total

The cluster at the casino was first linked to a 36-year-old Malaysian man who works as a dealer there and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 16 May. One of the cases in the cluster, one of two infections who are not working at the casino, had tested preliminarily positive for the India variant, or B.1.617.

The latest case to be added to the cluster is the fifth employee at the casino: a 36-year-old Malaysian man who works as a dealer there and had been quarantined earlier.

'Case 63515' cluster: 1 new case, 4 in total

The cluster was named after the case number of a 34-year-old Singaporean man who works as a technician at Singapore Refining Company. The latest case linked to the cluster is a two-year-old Singaporean girl who is a student at My First Skool at 331 Sembawang Close. She is a family member and household contact of the man, and was placed on quarantine on 20 May.

99% of total cases have recovered, 2 in ICU

With 31 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 61,360 cases – or 99.1 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 242 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two of them are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

A total of 282 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 32 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 227 confirmed cases reported from 20 to 26 May, 54 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 138 have tested negative, and 35 serology test results are pending.

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