Lebanese man who stayed at Mandarin Orchard among new Covid-19 cases in S'pore

The 37-year-old man arrived here from Qatar and had completed part of his stay-home notice at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel.
The 37-year-old man arrived here from Qatar and had completed part of his stay-home notice at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

SINGAPORE - There were 10 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Saturday (Dec 26), including a Lebanon national found to be infected with Covid-19 after he had completed part of his stay-home notice (SHN) at the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that he was transferred to another dedicated facility last Sunday when the ministry began investigations into 13 Covid-19 cases who had served their SHN at the hotel.

The 13 cases, which came from 10 different countries, were infected by coronavirus strains with "high genetic similarity", which implies that the infections might have come from one source and could have happened in the hotel.

The 37-year-old Lebanese man likely picked up Covid-19 after arriving in Singapore, according to facts laid out by MOH. He had flown here from Qatar.

The short-term visit pass holder was swabbed for Covid-19 on Dec 19 and 21 and his test results were negative.

His swab on Dec 24, at the end of his SHN, came back positive, while his serological test result was negative. The latter test determines if his infection was an old one.

"Investigations are ongoing to assess if he could be linked to the 13 cases," said MOH.

All 10 cases announced by MOH on Saturday were imported.

The new cases, of which none are from the community or worker's dormitories, take Singapore's total to 58,519.

All of them had been placed on SHN or isolated upon arrival in Singapore. They were all asymptomatic.

Two of the new cases are Singaporeans who had returned from the United Kingdom.

Five are Indian nationals, who comprise a work permit holder, three dependant's pass holders and a short-term visit pass holder. They had arrived from their home country.

The remaining two cases are a Bangladeshi work permit holder and a Malaysian short-term visit pass holder. They had arrived from Bangladesh and Indonesia respectively.

MOH said the Malaysian is a caregiver to an individual who was already receiving medical care in Singapore and had returned for further treatment.

It added that epidemiological investigations are ongoing. In the meantime, close contacts of the cases have been isolated, placed on quarantine, and will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period.

MOH will also conduct serological tests for the close contacts to determine if the cases could have been infected by them.

Four shopping centres - Anchorpoint Shopping Centre, Westgate, Raffles City Shopping Centre and CityLink - are among places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were infectious, added the ministry.

The other locations were Prime Supermarket at Block 962 Jurong West Street 91 and NTUC FairPrice in Clementi Avenue 3.

It said that close contacts would have been notified and there is no need to avoid these places.

As a precautionary measure, people who were at those places at the same time should monitor their health closely for 14 days from their date of visit, and see a doctor if they feel ill, it added.

Individuals may check their TraceTogether or SingPass Mobile app, or go to this website to check whether they were at these places at the same time as the Covid-19 patients.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has remained low, with a total of one such case in the past week who is currently unlinked, said the ministry.

With 10 cases discharged on Saturday, 58,347 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 37 patients remained in hospital, with none in intensive care, while 91 were still recuperating in community facilities.

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 79.9 million people, and 1.75 million people have died.