Inmate with Covid-19 was jailed for overstaying in Singapore

People wearing face masks walk along Orchard Road in June 2020.
People wearing face masks walk along Orchard Road in June 2020.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The Sri Lankan prison inmate who was the sole community case on Monday had served a four-week jail sentence for overstaying in Singapore without a valid pass and was awaiting repatriation when he tested positive for Covid-19.

He was also admitted to Changi General Hospital during his jail term for dengue and went for a related medical review at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital after his sentence ended.

This is according to replies by the Singapore Prison Service and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) last night to queries from The Straits Times on the 26-year-old inmate.

They said he is currently well, and noted that the man had undergone at least three swab tests during his stay at Changi Prison Complex and had his temperature taken three times a day while he was in ICA's custody.

It is unclear where he was infected with the coronavirus, but he has been classified by the Ministry of Health (MOH) as a local community case.

Two other inmates who were admitted last Thursday with the Sri Lankan patient were isolated in the same cell with him during a 14-day segregation period for all newly admitted inmates.

They are being closely monitored and kept separate from the rest of the prison population.

The two tested negative for Covid-19 and will undergo another swab test at the end of their current isolation period for being close contacts of the patient.

The Sri Lankan man is the sixth case to be linked to prisons to date. Four inmates and one staff nurse were previously confirmed to have contracted the virus.

This latest case is unrelated to the five cases before, the prison service and ICA said, and noted that the five earlier cases have fully recovered.

Meanwhile, a Hindu temple was added to a list of places vi-sited by Covid-19 cases while they were still infectious, MOH said yesterday.

The Holy Tree Sri Balasubra-maniar Temple at 10 Yishun Industrial Park A was visited by at least one case last Friday from 7pm to 9pm.

The ministry provides the list of locations that Covid-19 cases have visited for at least 30 minutes to get those who were at these places to monitor their health closely for two weeks from the date of their visit.

  • Update on cases

  • New cases: 295

    Imported: 7 (2 permanent residents, 2 work pass holders, 2 dependant's pass holders, 1 student's pass holder) 

    In community: 2 (1 Singaporean, 1 work permit holder) In dormitories: 286

    Active cases: 5,865 

    In hospitals: 125 (1 in ICU) 

    In community facilities: 5,740

    Deaths: 27 

    Patients with Covid-19 who died from other causes: 15

    Total discharged: 47,439 

    Discharged yesterday: 275

    TOTAL CASES: 53,346

It has said that close contacts would already have been notified and that there is no need to avoid these places as they would have been cleaned if needed.

The full list is on MOH's website.

There were 295 new coronavirus cases confirmed yesterday, including two community cases and seven imported ones.

All seven imported cases recently arrived in Singapore from India, with the youngest being a five-year-old boy, an Indian national, linked to a previous case.

The two community cases are a 31-year-old Singaporean woman and a 46-year-old Bangladeshi work permit holder.

Migrant workers staying in dormitories made up the remaining 286 cases, taking Singapore's total to 53,346.

The average number of new daily cases in the community during a week has decreased from four cases two weeks ago to two in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community during a week has also fallen from a daily average of two cases to one over the same periods.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 05, 2020, with the headline 'Inmate with Covid-19 was jailed for overstaying in S'pore'. Print Edition | Subscribe