Additional Covid-19 measures may be needed as community cases inch up: Lawrence Wong

Singapore reported 14 new Covid-19 cases on Jan 18, including two in the community.
Singapore reported 14 new Covid-19 cases on Jan 18, including two in the community.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - Additional measures may be needed to keep Covid-19 in check here, as community cases inch up and a local cluster has emerged for the first time in several months.

Covid-19 task force co-chair Lawrence Wong said the country has seen more new infected cases in the community in recent days, and a local cluster linked to a police para-vet.

"Unfortunately there were also several recent cases who did not seek medical treatment despite falling ill with flu-like symptoms," he said in a Facebook post on Monday night (Jan 18).

Mr Wong, who is also Education Minister, added that contact tracers were working hard to identify all the possible contacts, ring-fence the potential cases and prevent them from spreading further.

"We are also monitoring the situation carefully and considering if additional measures are necessary to ensure the infection remains under control," he said.

The number of new cases in the community has increased to 10 cases in the past week, from eight cases the week earlier.

The number of unlinked cases in the community, however, has decreased from five cases in the week before to four cases in the past week.

On Monday night, the Ministry of Health confirmed 14 new coronavirus cases, two of which are in the community.

This brings Singapore's total up to 59,127.

The two new community cases were linked to the police para-veterinarian cluster - centred around a 32-year-old Singaporean who works at the K-9 Unit at 2 Mowbray Road - bringing its number of cases to six.

Four of the six in the cluster did not seek medical treatment despite coming down with symptoms.

The first of the two new cases is a 43-year-old Singaporean who is the wife of a previous case.

She had a runny nose on Jan 10 and subsequently lost her sense of taste and developed a sore throat and diarrhoea on Jan 12, but had not sought medical treatment.

She was contacted by MOH on Jan 16 as part of its contact tracing efforts and her test came back positive the next day. She was then taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital.

Her serological test came back negative, indicating a likely current infection, said MOH.

The second community case is a 66-year-old Malaysian woman who has been in Singapore since January last year on a long-term visit pass.

She developed acute respiratory infection symptoms and diarrhoea on Jan 9, and subsequently lost her sense of taste on Jan 14. She also did not seek medical treatment.

She was contacted by MOH on Jan 16 and tested positive the next day. She was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Her serological test came back positive, indicating a likely recent infection.

Both are family members of a 44-year-old Singaporean administrative officer who works in the same location as the para-vet. 

The other 12 cases were imported, comprising two Singaporeans, four permanent residents, one dependant's pass holder, one student's pass holder and four work permit holders.

The Singaporeans and permanent residents were returning from India, Mexico, Pakistan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The dependant's pass holder arrived from India, while the student's pass holder came from the Czech Republic.

The four work permit holders came from Bangladesh, India and Malaysia.

With 22 cases discharged on Monday, 58,853 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 44 patients remain in hospital, with none in intensive care, while 186 are recuperating in community facilities.

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