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Singapore reports 33 new COVID-19 infections, including 2 community cases

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SINGAPORE: Thirty-three new COVID-19 cases were reported in Singapore as of noon on Thursday (Jan 7), said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Of these, two are locally transmitted cases in the community, said the ministry, adding that no new infections were found in foreign workers’ dormitories. 

Both community cases are currently unlinked. 

One is a work permit holder who works at Azur at Crowne Plaza. The 43-year-old Malaysian woman, who is known as Case 59059, delivered pre-packed meals to air crew members and hotel guests. MOH said she did not interact with diners at Azur.

She developed symptoms while at work on Jan 3 and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on Jan 5 where she was tested for COVID-19. Her result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day, and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). 

The health ministry said her serological test came back negative, indicating that is is likely a current infection. 

“Preliminary investigations reveal that she is probably not infected with the B117 strain. Her earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on Dec 31 – had been negative for COVID-19 infection,” added MOH.

This is the second COVID-19 community case linked to Azur at Crowne Plaza this week. 

On Wednesday, MOH said a 24-year-old work permit holder from South Korea tested positive for a pooled swab during rostered routine testing on Jan 2. He has also preliminarily tested positive for the B117 strain and is pending further confirmatory tests.

MOH said it is investigating both unlinked cases and said preliminary investigations indicate that the ministry cannot exclude that transmissions could have occurred at the hotel. 

As a precautionary measure, Crowne Plaza Changi Airport will be closed from Jan 8 to Jan 21 and will stop accepting new guests. Foreign air crew and guests currently staying at the hotel will be checked out progressively while incoming air crew will be housed in alternative facilities.

The other community case is a 63-year-old Singaporean man who works as a cargo operator at AirMark Aviation and is based at Dnata Cargo Centre. MOH said the man, known was Case 59069, mainly handles loading and unloading of cargo for My Indo Airlines, and does not interact with flight passengers.

He developed acute respiratory infection symptoms on Jan 4 and sought treatment at Changi General Hospital on Jan 6. He was confirmed to be positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day and was warded. 

His serological test result is pending. Prior to hospitalisation, he had gone to work after symptoms onset, said the health ministry. 

12 FOREIGN DOMESTIC WORKERS AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The remaining 31 cases were imported. Among them are four Singaporeans and three permanent residents who returned from India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and the United Kingdom.

Nineteen others are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Myanmar, of whom 12 are foreign domestic workers. There were also two work pass holders who arrived from India and the UAE. 

The remaining three imported cases are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from India. 

All cases, except Case 59042, were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore.

Case 59042, a 48-year-old man from Bangladesh, arrived on Dec 22 but could not clear immigration due to incomplete documentation. He was held at a facility located at the airport’s transit area until Dec 24, when the issues were resolved, and subsequently taken to a dedicated stay-home notice facility.

MOH also added several new locations to its list of places visited by COVID-19 cases during their infectious period. 

These places include Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple along Ceylon Road and the NTUC Income building at Tampines Central 6. Crowne Plaza Hotel was also visited on three consecutive days.

21 MORE PATIENTS DISCHARGED

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

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from three cases in the week before to six cases in the past week. 

Twenty-one more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore’s total recoveries to 58,562.

There are 61 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit. Another 161 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

As of Thursday, Singapore has reported a total of 58,813 COVID-19 cases and 29 fatalities from the disease. 

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