24 foreign workers test positive for Covid-19 at Westlite Woodlands dorm, 11 no longer infectious

24 recovered workers at Westlite Woodlands dormitory had tested positive for Covid-19.
24 recovered workers at Westlite Woodlands dormitory had tested positive for Covid-19.ST PHOTO: YONG LI XUAN

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday night (April 27) said it found that 24 recovered workers at Westlite Woodlands dormitory had tested positive for Covid-19.

Of these cases, five are likely to be cases of reinfection, MOH said.

They occupied the same room in the dormitory as the 35-year-old Bangladeshi construction supervisor and his roommate who had tested positive for Covid-19 last week. 

MOH added: "There is currently no evidence of transmission to the rest of the dormitory."

MOH said it and the Ministry of Manpower had conducted special testing operations to screen the dormitory's residents, who included recovered workers, as part of their investigations into the Bangladeshi's case.

The 24 workers were isolated and taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

MOH, together with an expert panel comprising infectious diseases and microbiology experts, investigated the cases to assess if they were reinfections, or past infections shedding minute fragments of virus RNA which were no longer transmissible and infective to others.

Of the 24 cases, 11 cases had been assessed to be shedding virus fragments, and five were likely to be reinfections, said MOH.

Two more cases were found to be negative on retesting, and the remaining six were pending assessment by the expert panel, it revealed.

Among the reinfection cases, two had recently arrived from Bangladesh on April 6.

Said MOH: "Our epidemiological investigations found that they were likely to have been infected while overseas, and passed the infection to the others in the room."

They form a new cluster of seven cases linked to the construction supervisor and his roommate.

The sole community case on Tuesday announced by MOH is a 42-year-old Indonesian sea crew member working on board bunker tanker MT ALLI who is linked to a previous case. This brings the total number of cases linked to sea crew on the bunker tanker to six.

He had not disembarked from the vessel except to go for the first dose of Covid-19 vaccination on April 8.

There were also 11 imported cases confirmed by MOH, taking Singapore's total to 61,063. All of them had been placed on stay-home notice upon arrival in Singapore, said MOH. They arrived from countries including India, Ivory Coast and Malaysia.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community increased from nine two weeks ago to 11 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community in a week has remained stable at four cases per week over the same period.

With 22 cases discharged on Tuesday, 60,689 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 108 patients remain in hospital, with none in intensive care, while 221 are recuperating in community facilities. Singapore has had 30 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

Separately, a mosque in Sembawang was closed on Tuesday and Wednesday for cleaning and disinfection after it was visited by a person who had tested positive for Covid-19.

The Islamic Religious Council of Singapore said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that the person visited Masjid Petempatan Melayu Sembawang last Friday between 1.55pm and around 2.20pm.

“All bookings for congregational prayer will be automatically voided, including booking for terawih prayers,” it added, referring to the nightly prayers in mosques during Ramadan.