Changi cargo officer is sole Covid-19 community case in Singapore

The man was tested after reporting his symptoms at a tuberculosis screening. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - An import officer at Changi Airport has tested positive for Covid-19 - one of two locally transmitted cases announced on Friday (Feb 5).

The 56-year-old, who works at Yusen Logistics and is based in Changi Cargo Megaplex 1, was diagnosed with coronavirus after going for tuberculosis screening because he had come into contact with a TB patient at work.

He developed a cough on Tuesday but did not seek medical attention and carried on with his job, which does not involve interacting with flight passengers, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

As he had been identified as a contact of a TB case, he went to the Tuberculosis Control Unit on Thursday. After reporting his symptoms, he was also given a test for Covid-19 there, which came back positive on the same day.

The patient's serological test - which detects antibodies from past infection - was negative, as was an earlier test from an operation to screen airport cargo workers on Jan 18. This indicates that it is probably a current infection, said the MOH. His case is not currently linked to any others.

Meanwhile, a 31-year-old Bangladesh national has tested positive, in the first case to be reported in workers' dormitories since Jan 16.

The work pass holder is asymptomatic and was diagnosed on Thursday after rostered routine testing (RRT).

He has not started work since arriving in Singapore on Dec 13, and stays at a dormitory at 1 Soon Lee Street.

The patient's earlier tests from RRT on Jan 13 and a swab taken on Dec 23 were both negative. He had served a stay-home notice (SHN) at a dedicated facility until Dec 27.

"His serology test has come back positive, but given the relatively long time interval between his travel and positive Covid-19 test, we have classified this case as locally transmitted," said the MOH.

There were also 23 imported cases confirmed, taking Singapore's total to 59,649.

The imported cases comprised three Singaporeans, two permanent residents, two dependant's pass holders, four work pass holders, 11 work permit holders and one short-term visit pass holder.

They came from several countries including Canada, Russia and Indonesia, and tested positive while serving SHN or in isolation after their arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

White Sands and Jurong Point were added to the list of places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were still infectious, added the ministry.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community increased to four cases in the past week from none in the week before. The number of unlinked cases in the community also increased from none in the week before to three in the past week.

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With 25 patients discharged on Friday, 59,358 have fully recovered.

A total of 41 patients remain in hospital, including one in a critical condition in intensive care, while 206 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 29 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

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