22-year-old student who was isolated for 21 days is sole Covid-19 community case in S'pore

MOH reported 34 new Covid-19 cases, with one in the community, on March 31, 2021.
MOH reported 34 new Covid-19 cases, with one in the community, on March 31, 2021.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A 22-year-old permanent resident who is studying in the United Kingdom was the sole community Covid-19 case announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday night (March 31).

He is asymptomatic and was detected when he took a Covid-19 pre-departure test on Tuesday in preparation for his return to the United Kingdom.

His test result came back positive on the same day and he was taken 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," said MOH. A positive serology test suggests that an infection is not so recent.

Another test conducted by Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Wednesday was negative for Covid-19 infection.

This means that the student could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection, which are no longer transmissible and infectious, said the Health Ministry.

MOH added that as it was unable to definitively conclude when he had been infected, it is taking all necessary public actions as a precautionary measure.

The student had returned to Singapore from the UK on Jan 11 and served a stay-home notice (SHN) at a dedicated facility, and an additional seven day self-isolation at his place of residence until Feb 1.

His tests taken on Jan 24 during SHN and on Jan 29 during self-isolation were both negative for Covid-19.

There were also 33 imported cases, taking Singapore's total to 60,381.

All of them had been placed on stay-home notices or isolated on arrival in Singapore, said the Health Ministry.

They arrived from countries including India, Myanmar and Papua New Guinea.

MOH said the number of new cases in the community had increased from none in the week before, to three cases in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community had also increased from zero to three in the same period.

With 11 cases discharged on Wednesday, 60,134 people have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 37 patients remain in hospital, including one in critical condition in the intensive care unit, while 165 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 30 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.