All 24 new COVID cases in S'pore imported; 409 staff at Jewel, T3 tested negative

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4 min read
Seniors getting COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Singapore.
Seniors getting COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Singapore. (PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 24 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Friday (29 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,449.

All new cases are imported, marking the seventh day in a row with no new local transmissions.

“Amongst the new cases today, 23 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while one was symptomatic,” said the ministry.

Of the 24 imported cases, two are Singaporeans and one is a permanent resident – a 14-year-old male teenager – who returned from Myanmar, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates.

Two others are a long-term visit pass holder, who is a two-year-old baby girl, and a student’s pass holder, who is a 19-year-old female teenager – both arrived from India.

An additional case is a 35-year-old male work pass holder, the lone symptomatic case reported on Friday, who arrived from the United Arab Emirates.

Sixteen of them are work permit holders who arrived from Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines, of whom 12 are foreign domestic workers.

One other case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to study in Singapore.

The remaining case is a 19-year-old sea crew member holding a special pass who arrived from Ukraine onboard a vessel. He was swabbed upon arrival and isolated while awaiting his test result and conveyed to a hospital subsequently.

All cases were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were tested while serving their notices or during isolation.

The MOH also noted that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 21 in the week before to none in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also decreased from five cases in the week before to none in the past week.

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409 staff at Jewel Changi Airport, T3 tested negative

The ministry said that it has completed a special testing operation for staff who have been working from 31 December last year at Jewel Changi Airport, and at the shops and food establishments that are open to the public at Changi Airport Terminal 3.

In total, 409 staff were tested and all the results have come back negative for COVID-19, it added.

This was a precautionary measure after whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory revealed that three previously reported community cases tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 strain and could be linked.

They are a 24-year-old Korean man, a work permit holder who works at Azur at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, as well as a 39-year-old Singaporean man and his 39-year-old Singaporean spouse.

Epidemiological investigations had revealed that the Singaporean man and his spouse had visited Jewel Changi Airport on 31 December last year between 2.35pm and 9.50pm, while the Korean man was at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on the same day between 7.48pm and 8.49pm.

Earlier on Friday, the MOH said 25 cases of the UK variant were detected in Singapore between 23 December last year and 26 January.

Twenty of them are imported cases from Europe, and five are community cases, including the Korean man and the couple. Two remaining imported cases from Europe are preliminarily positive and pending confirmatory results.

The remaining two community infections had not been previously publicly confirmed by authorities as cases with the UK strain. They are a 43-year-old Malaysian female work permit holder and a 20-year-old Singaporean man who had tested preliminarily positive for the variant. Both also work at Azur at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing to determine if the five community cases are linked, added the ministry.

All close contacts of the cases, including those who have tested preliminarily positive for the variant, have been isolated and placed on quarantine.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 33 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 59,181 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 47 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none in the intensive care unit.

A total of 192 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.

Amongst the 199 confirmed cases reported from 23 to 29 January, 102 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 35 have tested negative, and 62 serology test results are pending.

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