Singapore work pass holder from India Covid-positive despite two negative tests

MOH reported 14 new Covid-19 cases, all imported, on Feb 19, 2021. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

SINGAPORE - A work pass holder who arrived from India is among 14 new Covid-19 cases announced on Friday (Feb 19) - despite having previously tested negative twice.

The 48-year-old came to Singapore on Dec 30 and was on stay-home notice (SHN) until Jan 3. He was then immediately quarantined until Jan 13 after being identified as a close contact of another case.

The man tested negative when swabbed twice during quarantine - on Jan 4 and Jan 10. He only tested positive on Wednesday after taking a pre-departure test for his return to India.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said another sample taken from him on Thursday tested negative for the virus. His serological test has also come back positive.

"Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported," said the MOH.

"He is likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others."

All 14 cases confirmed by the ministry on Friday night were imported. They bring Singapore's total to 59,846.

The other 13 cases comprised one permanent resident, three dependant's pass holders, three other work pass holders, three work permit holders and three special pass holders.

The special pass holders are sea crew who arrived from Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They had not disembarked from their vessels and were tested onboard, said the MOH.

The permanent resident came from Indonesia, while the work pass holders came from India, Nepal and the UAE. The work permit holders arrived from Indonesia and Malaysia, while the dependant's pass holders came from India and Indonesia.

The number of new cases in the community has fallen to one in the past week, from eight two weeks ago.

The weekly number of unlinked cases in the community fell from five to one over the same period.

With 18 patients discharged on Friday, 59, 682 have fully recovered from the disease.

Twenty patients remain in hospital, including one in a critical condition in intensive care while 100 are recuperating in community facilities.

On Thursday, 11 Covid-19 cases were reported. All were imported cases, and had been placed on stay-home notice and tested on arrival.

None had symptoms, except a 31-year-old woman who had arrived from Italy on a student's pass and became ill on Feb 9.

The 10 others comprised a 63-year-old Singaporean woman, a permanent resident who had arrived from Bangladesh, a work pass holder who had come from the UAE and seven work permit holders from India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Globally, the virus has infected more than 109 million people and left 2.4 million dead.

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