Preliminary tests show two more in Singapore have UK Covid-19 strain

An SIA pilot and a work pass holder have tested preliminarily positive for the new B117 strain of the coronavirus.
An SIA pilot and a work pass holder have tested preliminarily positive for the new B117 strain of the coronavirus.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - A Singapore Airlines pilot and a work pass holder have tested preliminarily positive for the new B117 strain of the coronavirus that is circulating in the United Kingdom.

They were among 27 new coronavirus cases confirmed on Wednesday (Dec 30), taking Singapore's total to 58,569.

The pilot, a 40-year-old Singaporean man, had travelled to the United Kingdom for work between Dec 19 and 22, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Dec 30).

He was tested on Dec 23 as part of rostered routine testing conducted for air crew who travel frequently.

Although he tested negative for Covid-19 upon returning to Singapore, he developed a fever on Dec 26 and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic the next day, where he was swabbed and confirmed positive on Dec 29.

He was then taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases by ambulance.

Serological tests indicate that he is likely to have a current infection, said the Health Ministry.

Further tests will be conducted to confirm the Covid-19 strain the man has.

The work pass holder who also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain is a 53-year-old man who returned from the United Kingdom.

Although he ended his stay-home notice on Dec 21, he developed body aches the next day and acute respiratory symptoms on Dec 25.

He was then confirmed positive for Covid-19 on Dec 29.

Meanwhile, there were 24 other imported cases, all of whom had been placed on stay-home notice or isolated on arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

Among the imported cases, three are Singaporean, four are permanent residents, five are work pass holders and seven are work permit holders.

Of the seven work permit holders, six are foreign domestic workers.

The imported cases also include three dependant's pass holders, one long-term visit pass holder, one short-term visit pass holder and one special pass holder.

The sole community case announced on Wednesday (Dec 30) is a permanent resident who works as a marine surveyor at Lloyd's Register Singapore.

As part of his job, the 46-year-old man works on board vessels docked at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard.

He had not gone to work since the onset of symptoms on Dec 27.

His case is currently unlinked and epidemiological investigations are ongoing, said MOH.

MOH added that all the identified close contacts of the cases have been isolated and placed on quarantine.

They will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so the ministry can detect asymptomatic cases.

Marina Bay Sands, IMM, Takashimaya and Orchard Gateway were among places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were still infectious, said MOH.

MOH provides the list of locations that infectious Covid-19 patients visited for at least 30 minutes and the times they visited them to get people who were at those places at the same time to monitor their health closely for two weeks from the date of their visit.

The full list of locations and times can be found on the gov.sg website.

MOH has said close contacts would already have been notified and that there is no need to avoid those places as they would have been cleaned if necessary.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has remained low,with a total of two cases in the past week who are currently unlinked.

With 11 cases discharged on Wednesday, 58,396 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 52 patients remain in hospital, while 77 are recuperating in community facilities. None is in intensive care.

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