Two-month high of 34 new COVID cases in Singapore; one in community

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·4-min read
People seen wearing face masks on the streets of Orchard Road on 31 January, 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)
People seen wearing face masks on the streets of Orchard Road on 31 January, 2020. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed 34 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Wednesday (31 March), taking the country's total case count to 60,381.

One of them is a local transmission in the community while 33 are imported. Wednesday's daily case count is the highest in two months since 30 January's 58 cases.

"Amongst the new cases today, 31 are asymptomatic, and were detected from our proactive screening and surveillance, while three were symptomatic," said the MOH.

The lone community, currently unlinked and asymptomatic, is a 22-year-old male permanent resident who is studying in the UK.

The man had returned to Singapore from the UK on 11 January, and served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until 25 January, and an additional seven-day self-isolation at his place of residence until 1 February. 

His tests taken on 24 January during the notice and on 29 January during self-isolation were both negative for COVID-19.

The man was detected when he took a COVID-19 pre-departure test on 30 March in preparation for his return to the UK. 

His test result came back positive on the same day, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

His Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load, and his serology test result has come back positive. Another test conducted by Tan Tock Seng Hospital on 31 March was negative for COVID-19 infection," said the MOH.

The ministry said the man could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection which are no longer transmissible and infective to others, but "given that we are not able to definitively conclude when he had been infected, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure".

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

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33 imported cases, including 22 work permit holders

Among the 33 imported cases, one is a 15-year-old male PR who returned from Myanmar, while another is a dependant's pass holder who arrived from India.

Two others are student's pass holders who arrived from India, while another two are work pass holders who arrived from India and Qatar.

Twenty-two cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, of whom eight are foreign domestic workers. One of Wednesday's three symptomatic cases is a 40-year-old work permit holder who arrived from Indonesia.

Two cases are short-term visit pass holders, including one who arrived from India to visit her family members who are PRs. The other is a 50-year-old Colombian man, Wednesday's second case, who arrived from Papua New Guinea for a work project here. 

Three remaining cases are special pass holders who are sea crew, including a 45-year-old Chinese man who arrived from the Philippines on a vessel, and had remained onboard until he developed symptoms and was conveyed to a hospital. He is the third symptomatic case on Wednesday.

The other two special pass holders arrived from Malaysia on a vessel, and were tested onboard without disembarking.

All 33 imported cases were either placed on the stay-home notice or isolated upon their arrival here and were tested for COVID-19.

99% of total cases have recovered, 1 in ICU

With 11 more patients discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities on Wednesday, 60,149 cases – or 99.6 per cent of the total – have fully recovered from the infection.

Most of the 37 hospitalised cases are stable or improving, while one of them is in the intensive care unit.

A total of 165 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 145 confirmed cases reported from 25 to 31 March, 52 cases have tested positive for their serology tests, 67 have tested negative, and 26 serology test results are pending.

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