Hotel cleaner may be source of Jem, Westgate Covid-19 cluster; 6 Pizza Hut staff among new cases

A cleaner at Park Avenue Rochester (top left) may be the source of the cluster at Westgate (top right) and Jem (bottom left). Four Pizza Hut staff in Punggol Plaza were also among the new cases. PHOTOS: GOOGLE MAPS, DESMOND FOO, MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Free Covid-19 testing will be extended to those who visited Jem and Westgate between May 10 and last Saturday, after a cluster linked to the malls grew to 50 cases.

Six new cases linked to the cluster were among the 24 community cases confirmed on Monday (May 24) evening.

Meanwhile, a 15-year-old Peicai Secondary student and a 16-year-old Greendale Secondary student - who work part-time at Pizza Hut at Punggol Plaza - are among five cases that have been added to the McDonald's delivery riders cluster. The cluster was first confirmed last Saturday.

A 53-year-old cleaner who works at Park Avenue Rochester, a stay-home notice dedicated facility, may have been the source of infection for the Westgate and Jem cluster when she visited Westgate on May 6, investigations by the Ministry of Health (MOH) suggest.

The cleaner was previously confirmed to have the virus on May 7.

"Whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory have revealed that some of the visitors to Jem and Westgate have similar sequences to (the cleaner)," MOH said on Monday.

"Further investigations into the mode of transmission are ongoing."

All visitors to Jem and Westgate since May 10 are also advised to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit.

They are encouraged to visit a regional screening centre or Swab and Send Home Public Health Preparedness Clinic for a free Covid-19 test if they feel unwell.

The six new community cases reported on Monday linked to the Westgate and Jem cluster means it is now the second-biggest active cluster after the Changi airport cluster.

They comprise two Singapore Polytechnic students, an administrative staff at ST Electronics (Jurong East), a delivery personnel at AST Logistics, an unemployed woman and a waiter at Pizza Hut at Westgate.

Five more cases were added to the McDonald's delivery riders cluster, which now has a total of 10 patients linked to it.

Four of them are staff for Pizza Hut (Punggol Plaza) while another works as a delivery rider for Pizza Hut (Havelock II).

Of these, one is a 31-year-old delivery rider for the Pizza Hut outlet at Punggol Plaza who was a close contact of delivery riders at McDonald's (Bedok Reservoir) and McDonald's (Pasir Ris Elias Community Club).

Among them are two part-timers - the Peicai Secondary School student and the Greendale Secondary School student.

The Peicai Secondary School student had developed a cough last Thursday but did not seek medical treatment. He had last gone to school on May 4.

He was tested on Sunday and his test came back positive on the same day.

The Greendale Secondary School student was asymptomatic and detected when he went to a general practitioner clinic for a Covid-19 test on Sunday after he was encouraged to do so by his employer. He had last gone to school on May 17.

Meanwhile, a 51-year-old prison inmate at Changi Prison Complex was added to the cluster there.

He was a close contact of the first case detected in the cluster, a 39-year-old chef at the prison, and had been quarantined on May 13.

Separately, another dealer at the Marina Bay Sands casino has been added to the cluster linked to his colleagues.

A 38-year-old teacher at Maha Bodhi School and an eight-year-old pupil at Yu Neng Primary School were also added to the Learning Point cluster.

Both were contacts of previous cases. The pupil was a classmate of an eight-year-old boy who had attended the classes of the first case in the cluster, a 50-year-old Learning Point tutor.

Separately, a two-year-old preschooler at Heartfield Kindergarten was added to a cluster linked to a 53-year-old personal chauffeur.

The two unlinked cases in the community announced on Monday were a 31-year-old engineer at Hiap Seng Engineering and a 31-year-old property agent with ERA Realty Network.

There were also 12 imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notice on arrival in Singapore. Of these, three are Singaporeans and two are permanent residents.

The new cases take Singapore's total tally to 61,860.

The number of new cases in the community has risen from 149 cases two weeks ago to 185 in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community in a week has remained stable at 32 cases per week.

With 22 patients discharged on Monday, 61,301 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 244 patients remain in hospital, including three in critical condition in the intensive care unit, while 268 are recuperating in community facilities.

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