COVID-19: 1 community case among 23 new cases in Singapore

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·5-min read
People seen walking across a bridge near the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort on 14 April, 2021. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)
People seen walking across a bridge near the Marina Bay Sands integrated resort on 14 April, 2021. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 23 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Sunday (18 April), taking the country's total case count to 60,831.

There is one new case of locally transmitted infection in the community, while the remaining 22 are imported.

"Amongst the new cases today, 22 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while one was symptomatic," said the MOH.

Sunday's sole community case, currently unlinked, is a 39-year-old Indonesian man who is a sea crew member on board a bunker tanker. 

The man has tested preliminarily positive for the B.1.1.7 strain – or the UK variant – and is pending further confirmatory tests, said the MOH.

He had not disembarked from the vessel except to go for COVID-19 testing and vaccination, it added.

The man, who is asymptomatic, was detected when he was tested on 15 April as part of the rostered routine testing regime.

His pooled 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, said the ministry.

An individual test done on 16 April also came back positive for COVID-19 the next day. His earlier tests from the rostered routine testing – the last being on 1 April – had all been negative for COVID-19, the MOH said, adding that his serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

The ministry also said that the man received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccination on 15 April. 

"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," it added.

The MOH noted that the number of new cases in the community has increased from two in the week before to eight in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from two in the week before to five in the past week.

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22 imported cases, including one-year-old boy

Among the 22 imported cases, five are permanent residents, including a four-year-old girl, who returned from India.

Two others are dependant’s pass holders – including a one-year-old baby boy – who arrived from Nepal, while another is a long-term visit pass holder, an 11-year-old boy, who arrived from India.

Five cases are work pass holders who arrived from India and Kazakhstan, including a 37-year-old man who is Sunday's sole symptomatic case. Another five are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh and India.

The four remaining cases are short-term visit pass holders, including two who arrived from Indonesia and Romania for work assignments in Singapore.

The other two short-term visit pass holder are sea crew members who arrived from the Philippines and Myanmar respectively. One had not disembarked and was tested onboard while the other, a 43-year-old Filipino man, was placed on the stay-home notice upon his arrival here.

The latter arrived from the Philippines on 24 March to board a vessel that is docked in Singapore and had tested negative for COVID-19 on 24 March for his on- arrival test.

The man served his notice at a dedicated facility from 24 March to 7 April, and his test done on 6 April during was also negative for COVID-19. 

He boarded his designated vessel on 8 April, where he had not disembarked from, said the MOH.

On 16 April, the man was tested as part of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s protocol to test sea crew, and was conveyed to a hospital when his test came back positive for COVID-19.

"His Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load, and his serology test result has also come back positive. Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported based on his travel history," said the MOH.

The ministry added that the man "is likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others".

All 22 imported cases were placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and tested for COVID-19.

99% of total cases have recovered, 2 in ICU

With 22 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Sunday, 60,485 cases – or 99.4 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 68 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while two of them are in the intensive care unit.

A total of 248 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 178 confirmed cases reported from 12 to 18 April, 55 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 91 have tested negative, and 32 serology test results are pending.

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