All 34 new COVID cases in S'pore imported, including 2 who tested prelim positive for UK strain

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·5 min read
Seniors waiting in an observation area after getting a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Singapore.
Seniors waiting in an observation area after getting a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre in Singapore. (PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 34 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of Thursday (28 January), taking the country’s total case count to 59,425.

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

“Amongst the new cases today, 32 are asymptomatic and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while two were symptomatic,” said the MOH.

Of the 34 imported cases, two tested preliminarily positive for the UK strain of the novel coronavirus. One of them is a 31-year-old work permit holder who has not started work since his arrival here.

He arrived from Bangladesh on 6 January and served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility.

His swab done on 17 January during the notice was negative for COVID-19, but he was placed on quarantine and isolation the next day as he had been identified as a flight contact of a 41-year-old male compatriot who was confirmed as a case on 18 January.

The younger man was tested on 26 January even though he is asymptomatic and his result came back positive for COVID-19, while his serology test result has come back negative, indicating that he is likely currently infected.

The second case who preliminarily tested positive for the UK B.1.1.7 strain is a 33-year-old work pass holder who works as a software engineer at Pacific International Lines.

The man arrived from India on 27 December last year and served his notice at a dedicated facility until 10 January.

His swab done on 7 January during the notice was negative for COVID-19. The man subsequently worked from home from 11 to 21 January.

He developed nausea on 25 January, and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic on 26 January.

As he also reported intermittent cough and a sore throat, he was tested for COVID-19 and his test came back positive on 27 January. His serological test result has come back positive, which indicates a likely past infection.

“Given their recent travel history, we have classified both cases as imported,” said the MOH.

This comes after the ministry on Tuesday confirmed that three previously reported community cases have the UK strain of the novel coronavirus. Singapore’s first case of the B.1.1.7 strain was reported by authorities on 23 December last year, as well as 11 others who have tested preliminarily positive for the strain.

Remaining imported cases include three Singaporeans, 5 PRs

Of the remaining 32 imported cases, three are Singaporeans and five are permanent residents – including a 13-year-old boy – who returned from Indonesia, Malaysia, Oman, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates, and the US.

Two others are dependant’s pass holders who arrived from Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, while an additional case is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from India.

Three others are work pass holders who arrived from India, Pakistan, and Romania.

Fifteen are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, of whom nine are foreign domestic workers.

The remaining three cases are short-term visit pass holders, of which two arrived from Indonesia and the US respectively for work projects here. The third case arrived from Indonesia to visit her child who is a Singaporean.

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

Three places also were added to the list of places visited by COVID-19 community cases while they were infectious: Amoy Street Food Centre, China Square Food Centre and Shrimp Prawn Seafood at Boat Quay. They were visited between 21 and 25 January.

In an earlier press release sent out on the same day, the MOH said that 432 adverse events from the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine were reported by healthcare professionals in Singapore to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) as of Wednesday.

Three of them were cases of anaphylaxis, a rapid onset of severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

More than 113,000 people in Singapore have received the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. This currently brings the incidence rate of anaphylaxis locally to about 2.7 per 100,000 doses administered, added the MOH.

Over 50 individuals in Singapore have received their second dose of the vaccine and completed the full vaccination regimen.

The ministry said these numbers are expected to rise substantially in the coming weeks as authorities continue to ramp up vaccination operations safely.

The MOH also announced that it will introduce a vaccine injury financial assistance programme for COVID-19 vaccination (VIFAP) to provide financial assistance for affected individuals, in the rare event of serious side effects that are assessed to be related to COVID-19 vaccines administered in Singapore.

99% of total cases have recovered

With 44 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Thursday, 59,148 cases – or 99.5 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 40 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, and none in the intensive care unit.

A total of 208 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 190 confirmed cases reported from 22 to 28 January, 105 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 38 have tested negative, and 47serology test results are pending.

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