SINGAPORE - The Government is reviewing precautionary measures for workers in the marine sector after five new community Covid-19 patients linked to the sector were announced on Thursday (Dec 31).
In a statement, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said it is “aggressively tracing and testing the close contacts of the community cases so as to ringfence these cases and prevent further transmission”.
Among the five community cases is a family cluster of three involving a harbour pilot, identified as Case 58,817, who was found to be positive for Covid-19 through rostered routine testing.
The other two cases from the community are family members of Case 58,810, a permanent resident who works as a marine surveyor at Lloyd’s Register Singapore.
His infection was announced on Wednesday.
The 46-year-old marine surveyor’s work entails working onboard vessels docked at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard.
MOH said it will commence special testing operations to test people who had boarded the ships that Cases 58,810 and 58,817 recently worked on.
It will also test harbour pilots, marine surveyors and ship repair workers in the coming days, regardless of their rostered routine testing schedule, to determine their Covid-19 status.
“In view of the recent cases involving the marine sector, we will review the need to tighten our precautionary measures for these workers,” said the ministry.
The review of precautionary measures for workers in the marine sector comes after the authorities tightened safety measures for airline crew, following news that a Singapore Airlines cabin crew member and a pilot had tested positive for Covid-19.
The five cases in the community announced on Thursday is the highest daily community figure since Aug 30, when there were eight cases.
There were also 25 new imported coronavirus cases were confirmed on Thursday.
This means there were 30 new cases on Thursday, the highest daily total since Sept 21, when there were 31 cases.
Thursday’s new cases take Singapore’s total to 58,599.
The 25 were placed on stay-home notices or isolated on arrival in Singapore, said MOH.
Among them, five are Singaporeans or permanent residents, and nine are foreign domestic workers.
No new cases from worker’s dormitories were announced on Thursday.
More details will be provided by the ministry on Thursday night.
On Wednesday, a Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilot and a work pass holder preliminarily tested positive for the new B117 strain of the coronavirus that is circulating in the United Kingdom.
The new B117 strain is reportedly 70 per cent more contagious, but has not shown signs of being more lethal or severe.
The pilot, a 40-year-old Singaporean man, had travelled to the United Kingdom for work between Dec 19 and 22, said MOH on Wednesday.
Although he tested negative for Covid-19 on returning to Singapore, he developed a fever last Saturday and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where he was swabbed and confirmed positive on Tuesday.
Further tests will be conducted to confirm the Covid-19 strain the man has.
The work pass holder who also preliminarily tested positive for the B117 strain is a 53-year-old man who returned from the United Kingdom. He was confirmed positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, there were 24 other imported cases, all of whom had been placed on stay-home notice or isolated on arrival in Singapore, said MOH.
Among the imported cases, three are Singaporean, four are permanent residents, five are work pass holders and seven are work permit holders.
Of the seven work permit holders, six are foreign domestic workers.
The imported cases also include three dependant's pass holders, one student pass holder, one long-term visit pass holder, one short-term visit pass holder and one special pass holder.
The sole community case announced on Wednesday was a permanent resident who works as a marine surveyor at Lloyd's Register Singapore.
As part of his job, the 46-year-old man works on board vessels docked at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard.
He had not gone to work since the onset of symptoms on Sunday.
His case is currently unlinked and epidemiological investigations are being done, said MOH.
Marina Bay Sands, IMM, Takashimaya and Orchard Gateway were among places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were still infectious, said MOH.
Overall, the number of new cases in the community has remained low, with a total of two cases in the past week which are currently unlinked.
Singapore has had 29 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.
Globally, the virus outbreak, which began in December last year, has infected more than 82.6 million people. More than 1.8 million people have died.