First school-based Covid-19 transmission in S'pore after 2nd ACS (Junior) pupil tests positive

The 11-year-old ACS (Junior) pupil is the classmate of another patient who tested positive on May 19, 2021.
The 11-year-old ACS (Junior) pupil is the classmate of another patient who tested positive on May 19, 2021.ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

SINGAPORE - A second Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) (Junior) pupil was among the community cases announced on Friday (May 21), making him the first case of school-based Covid-19 transmission in Singapore.

Also among the community cases announced on Friday by the Ministry of Health (MOH) were a one-year-old toddler and an 11-year-old pupil.

In a statement early on Saturday, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said the cases at ACS (Junior) were "a clear reminder to all of us and our stakeholders, especially our parents, that we need to work together to keep our schools safe".

MOE urged all parents to comply with its screening policy to keep children at home and inform their school immediately if any household members develop acute respiratory infections, or have reason to believe they might have been infected with Covid-19.

"This is important to keep our students in school safe. Students should seek medical attention immediately if they feel unwell, continue practising good personal hygiene and adhere to safe management measures," it added.

The ACS (Junior) pupil announced as one of the new cases on Friday is an 11-year-old boy. MOE said he is the classmate of another patient who tested positive on Wednesday.

Following his classmate's positive test, the 11-year-old was placed under quarantine on Thursday.

He developed a fever, cough and runny nose the same day, and was tested when he reported his symptoms.

MOH said his test result came back positive on Friday. His serology test result is pending.

A serology test detects the presence of antibodies and shows if a person might have been infected in the past. A positive test - indicating the presence of antibodies - indicates a likely past infection.

Some classmates of both boys have been placed under quarantine or on leave of absence as they were in close contact with the first pupil who contracted the virus.

The other pupil reported as a community case on Friday is a Myanmar national who is a student at Bukit View Primary School. He had not gone to school since May 14.

He is a family member and household contact of two previous cases, of which one is a housewife and the other is a student at Yuan Ching Secondary School.

The boy developed a fever, sore throat, cough and loss of smell on Monday, and sought treatment at a general practitioner’s (GP) clinic, where he was given five days of medical leave.

He was then placed on quarantine on Wednesday due to his link to previous cases.

The pupil was tested on the same day and his test result came back positive on Thursday. His serology test result is pending.

Also among the community patients on Friday was a toddler, aged one.

MOH said the toddler is a Singaporean boy who attends the Skool4kidz Centre in Punggol Way and the AWWA Early Intervention Centre @ Fernvale.

He had been identified as a close contact of a previous case, a 32-year-old male Singaporean who works as an information technology engineer at AbbVie Operations Singapore. The latter was confirmed to be infected on Sunday.

On the same day, the toddler was placed on quarantine. He was then tested on Tuesday during quarantine and his test result came back negative the next day.

On Wednesday, he was tested a second time, and this test returned a positive result on Thursday.

MOH said he is asymptomatic, and his serology test result is negative.

Unlinked cases

Twenty-seven other infections were reported in the community on Friday, of which eight are currently unlinked. Three of the unlinked patients did not seek medical attention even though they showed symptoms, said MOH.

Of the three, one is a delivery rider for McDonald's (Bedok Reservoir) and IVIC Logistic.

The 27-year-old male Malaysian national developed a fever and cough on Monday but did not seek medical treatment until Thursday.

He underwent both an antigen rapid test (ART) and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test, and both test results came back positive the same day. His serology test result - to see if it is a current or past infection - is pending.

Another unlinked case is a 28-year-old Singaporean housewife.

She developed a fever on May 14 but did not seek medical treatment until Wednesday, when she developed shortness of breath.

She then went to a GP clinic the same day. She tested positive for her ART, and was immediately isolated. Her PCR test came back positive on Thursday. Her serology test result is pending, said MOH.

The third unlinked patient who had symptoms but did not see a doctor is a 20-year-old Singaporean who is a student of the National University of Singapore, and a part-time retail employee at Hijabville.

She developed a sore throat, runny nose and cough on May 13, but did not seek medical attention.

On Wednesday, she went for a Covid-19 swab as part of MOH's testing operations for those who had visited Westgate mall.

Her test result was positive on Friday. Her serology test result is pending.

Clusters

Three new clusters were announced on Friday, bringing the total number of active clusters here to 26, while one was closed.

MOH said that as there have been no more cases linked to the OM Universal cluster for the past two incubation periods, or 28 days, the cluster has now been closed.

Of the three new clusters, one involved three patients linked to Pacific Law Corporation.

Another cluster of three patients is linked to a 46-year-old female Singaporean who is an investment banker at DBS Bank, and was confirmed positive on Monday.

The last new cluster of three patients is linked to a 49-year-old permanent resident who is a housewife and was confirmed positive on Thursday. This cluster includes the 11-year-old Myanmar national who attends Bukit View Primary School.

Four patients were added to the Changi Airport Terminal 3 cluster on Friday. It now has 104 cases linked to it, and is the largest open cluster here.

No new infections were detected in workers' dormitories.

MOH also announced 10 imported cases on Friday, of which eight are either Singaporeans or permanent residents.

The number of new cases in the community has increased from 91 cases two weeks ago to 196 in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community in a week has also increased from 13 cases to 56 over the same period.

With 13 cases discharged on Friday, 61,227 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 249 patients remain in hospital, including four in the intensive care unit, while 247 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 32 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.