SINGAPORE - A Singapore permanent resident was found to be infected with the coronavirus after completing his stay-home notice, which he served partly in Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said late Friday night (Dec 25) that it is investigating if he is linked to 13 patients who had earlier served their stay-home notices at the same hotel and are suspected to be linked to one another.
This Singapore PR, a 47-year-old man, was one of the 14 new Covid-19 cases announced by MOH on Friday, all of which were imported.
MOH said the patient initially served his stay-home notice at the Mandarin Orchard hotel after returning from the Philippines on Dec 10.
But the PR was later moved to another dedicated facility on Dec 20, as the ministry started investigations into 13 Covid-19 cases who had served their stay-home notices at the hotel.
The 13 cases, which came from 10 different countries, were infected by coronavirus strains with "high genetic similarity", which implied that the infections might have come from one source and could have happened in the hotel.
MOH said on Friday that the PR had tested negative for the coronavirus during swab tests on Dec 19 and Dec 21. He had no symptoms of Covid-19 too.
"As a precautionary measure, he was swabbed again on completion of his stay-home notice on Thursday, and went home following the test," said the ministry.
"His test result came back positive that night and he was conveyed to the hospital the next day."
Results are also pending for the patient's serological test, which determine if his infection was one that happened in the past.
Friday's new Covid-19 cases, of which none are from the community or worker's dormitories, take Singapore's total to 58,509.
MOH said all of the 14 new confirmed cases as of Friday noon had been placed on stay-home notices or isolated on arrival in Singapore. Twelve of them were asymptomatic, while the remaining two showed symptoms of infection.
Six of the new cases are Singaporeans, and two of them are Singapore PRs. These cases had returned from South Africa, Republic of Korea, United Kingdom, the United States, Philippines, Malaysia and India.
There was also one work pass holder and three work permit holders. They had arrived from Indonesia and India.
The remaining two cases are dependant's pass holders who arrived from India and the US.
MOH added that one of the new Covid-19 patients had arrived from the UK on Dec 7, and served a 14-day stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Dec 21.
He tested negative for the coronavirus after getting swabbed on Dec 17. But he developed a cough on Dec 23 after completing his notice and tested positive for Covid-19 at a hospital.
The original sample was then confirmed to be positive for Covid-19 infection by the National Public Health Laboratory. But a second sample taken on Thursday by the lab came back negative for the virus.
"His serological test result has come back positive, which indicates a likely past infection," said MOH.
"He is therefore likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others."
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 20 cases discharged on Thursday, 58,337 patients have fully recovered from the disease.
A total of 31 patients remained in hospital, with none in intensive care, while 97 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 more than 78 million people. Over 1.7 million people have died.