3 local cases – 2 fully-vaccinated – among 39 new COVID infections in Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·7-min read
A man sits on a chair marked out to keep social distancing amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on 19 March, 2021 in Singapore. (PHOTO: NurPhoto via Getty Images)
A man sits on a chair marked out to keep social distancing amid the novel coronavirus pandemic on 19 March, 2021 in Singapore. (PHOTO: NurPhoto via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 39 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Friday (23 April), taking the country's total case count to 60,943.

Three are cases of local transmissions – two in the community and one in a dormitory – while the remaining 36 are imported.

Of those imported, 16 are Singaporeans or permanent residents, and six are foreign domestic workers.

"Amongst the new cases today, 33 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while six were symptomatic," said the MOH.

One of the two community cases, both unlinked, is a 33-year-old Indonesian man who is a sea crew member on board a bunker tanker. 

The MOH said the man had received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on 16 April here.

"As the vaccine does not contain live virus, he could not have been infected due to vaccination. It is possible for one to be infected just before or just after vaccination as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination," added the ministry.

The man had arrived by flight from Indonesia on 4 February and served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until 18 February. 

His on-arrival test on 4 February was negative for COVID-19, as was his test taken on 17 February. The man boarded a vessel on 18 February, and had not disembarked except to go for COVID-19 vaccination.

"He is asymptomatic, and was detected when he was tested onboard on 20 April as part of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s protocol to test sea crew," said the MOH.

The man's test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His serology test result has also come back positive.

2nd community case, dorm case fully-vaccinated

The second community case is a 38-year-old Indonesian man who is a short-term visit pass holder in Singapore for a work project. 

The man received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on 4 March and the second dose on 18 March in Indonesia, said the MOH. It was not stated which vaccine he had been administered.

He had arrived from Indonesia on 28 March and served the stay at a dedicated facility until 11 April. His on-arrival test, as well as swab taken on 10 April, were negative for COVID-19.

"The man is asymptomatic, and was detected when he took a COVID-19 pre-departure test on 22 April in preparation for his trip back to Indonesia," said the MOH. 

The man's test result came back positive on the same day, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to Mount Elizabeth Hospital. His serology test result has also come back positive. 

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has increased from four in the week before to 10 in the past week.

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

The ministry also added five new places to a list of public venues visited by COVID-19 community cases while they were infectious. The places, visited during 12 to 20 April, are Kopitiam Square at 10 Sengkang Square, Compass One – visited on two occasions – Wisma Atria, as well as Lucky Plaza's Choc Spot and Bebek Goreng Pak Ndut.

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Friday's sole case in the dormitory is a 21-year-old male Indian national who arrived in Singapore in October 2018. The work permit holder is employed by Sembcorp Marine Integrated Yard and works at Sembcorp Marine Tuas Boulevard Yard. He resides at SCM Tuas Lodge.

The MOH said he received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on 11 March and the second dose on 1 April here. 

"This likely accounts for his lack of symptoms and positive serology test result. The COVID-19 vaccine is effective in preventing symptomatic disease for the vast majority of those vaccinated, but it is possible for vaccinated individuals to get infected," the ministry added. 

The man is asymptomatic, and was detected when he was tested on 19 April as part of the rostered routine testing regime.

His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19, and he was immediately isolated. An individual test was done on 20 April, and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day. His serology test result has also come back positive.

The man was subsequently conveyed to the NCID in an ambulance. His earlier tests from rostered routine testing – the last being on 12 April – were all negative for COVID-19.

"Further research is required to determine if the vaccination will also prevent onward transmission of the infection. Our existing key enablers – safe management measures, testing, and contact tracing – continue to be necessary and effective in helping us to mitigate spread and keep community transmission low," said the MOH.

As of Thursday, seventeen recovered workers at Westlite Woodlands Dormitory were also found to be positive for COVID-19.

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36 imported cases, including 23 arrivals from India

Among the 36 imported cases, nine are Singaporeans and seven are PRs who returned from India, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and Papua New Guinea. A 12-year-old Singaporean boy and a 56-year-old male PR who both returned from India are among Friday's six symptomatic cases.

Three cases are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from India and Nepal. A four-year-old boy arriving from India is among Friday's six symptomatic cases.

Three others are student's pass holders who arrived from India.

Four cases are work pass holders who arrived from India, the Maldives, and Nepal. A 36-year-old Indian male work pass holder who arrived from the Maldives is among Friday's six symptomatic cases.

Nine others are work permit holders who arrived from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, of whom six are foreign domestic workers. A 26-year-old Filipino woman who arrived from the Philippines is among Friday's six symptomatic cases.

The remaining case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to visit his family member who is a Singaporean. The 24-year-old man is among Friday's six symptomatic cases.

All imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice upon their arrival here and were tested while serving the notice.

Due to the worsening COVID-19 situation in India, a ban on all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history, including transit history, to India within the last 14 days, took effect 11.59pm on Friday and will be in place until further notice. The move was announced by the authorities on Thursday.

They also revealed that as of Tuesday, 350 cases of various COVID-19 variants were detected here, including eight local infections.

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 10 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Friday, 60,613 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 80 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one of them is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 220 patients – with mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive – are isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Apart from the 30 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 174 confirmed cases reported from 17 to 23 April, 65 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 73 have tested negative, and 36 serology test results are pending.

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