COVID-19: Singapore confirms 23 new cases, 2 in the community

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
People watching an outdoor movie screening within their social distances in Singapore.
People watching an outdoor movie screening within their social distances in Singapore. (PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed the detection of 23 new cases of COVID-19 infection in Singapore as of noon on Friday (8 January), taking the country’s total case count to 58,836.

There are two new cases of locally-transmitted infection and 21 imported cases.

Of the new cases, 18 are asymptomatic while five were symptomatic.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 10 cases in the week before to eight cases in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from four cases in the week before to five cases in the past week.

One of the two new community cases is a 34-year-old Singaporean man who works as a harbour pilot at PSA Marine. His work entails going onboard vessels to navigate them through congested waters. His earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on 28 December – were negative for COVID-19 infection.

He had been identified as a close contact of an earlier case and was placed on quarantine on 1 January at a quarantine facility. His swab done on 3 January was negative for COVID-19. Another test taken on Thursday came back positive for COVID-19 infection and he was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He developed onset of symptoms on Friday.

The other case is a 20-year-old Singaporean man who works at Azur at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, the third worker of the food & beverage business to have tested positive for COVID-19. He tested preliminarily positive for the potentially more contagious B117 strain, which has been spreading from the UK to a number of countries around the world.

He was identified as a close contact of his colleague, a 24-year-old male Korean national, who is a work permit holder. The latter was confirmed on Tuesday to have COVID-19 and also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain.

The Singaporean was placed on quarantine on Tuesday at a quarantine facility. He developed acute respiratory infection symptoms on Thursday, and was swabbed on the same day. His test came back positive for COVID-19 infection and he was conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

MOH is investigating the three COVID-19 cases who work at Azur. From its preliminary investigations, it cannot exclude that transmissions could have occurred at the hotel. It said Crowne Plaza Changi Airport has been closed for 14 days from Friday to 21 January 2021, including its restaurant and event spaces.

MOH has started a special testing operations to test 234 staff working at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for COVID-19 infection. So far, 233 hotel staff have been swabbed. Of these, 129 test results have been processed, and all of them have come back negative for COVID-19 infection. Another 104 test results are pending. MOH is facilitating testing for the remaining staff.

Among the 21 imported cases,

• four are Singaporeans and four are Singapore permanent residents who returned from India, Indonesia and the UAE

• one is a dependant’s pass holder who arrived from the UAE

• one is a student’s pass holder who arrived from India

• two are work pass holders who arrived from India

• eight are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, of whom four are foreign domestic workers

• one is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to visit her spouse who is a Singapore permanent resident.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 18 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 58,580 cases – or 99.6 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 61 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and one is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 166 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from 29 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.

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