Coronavirus Singapore

S'porean man is first Covid-19 community case in 16 days

Service engineer ate with 12 family members in restaurant, with mingling across tables

Seoul Garden restaurant (top right corner) in Tampines Mall was where a service engineer - the first community infection in 16 days - had dinner with 12 family members last Saturday. The case is currently unlinked.
Seoul Garden restaurant (top right corner) in Tampines Mall was where a service engineer - the first community infection in 16 days - had dinner with 12 family members last Saturday. The case is currently unlinked.ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Singapore's first Covid-19 community case in 16 days is a Singaporean who works as a service engineer and had dinner with 12 family members at Seoul Garden in Tampines Mall last Saturday, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

The family had occupied three tables at the restaurant, and there was mingling among the groups.

Investigations are ongoing to assess if there had been any breach of the relevant safe management measures, MOH added.

The case is currently unlinked, and epidemiological investigations are in progress.

Meanwhile, all his identified close contacts, including his family members at the dinner, have been isolated and placed in quarantine. They will be tested at the start and end of their quarantine period so that asymptomatic cases will be detected, the ministry said.

The man, who developed a fever and sore throat on Monday, works at Master Systems Marine. His job entails going on board vessels docked at Marina South Pier and West Coast Pier for servicing and maintenance of ships' navigational systems.

He typically worked alone, and had no interaction with the vessel crew except for a supervising crew member. On days when he was not working on board vessels, he had remained at his office in Vertex Building Tower B, at 33 Ubi Avenue 3.

He reported that he wore a surgical mask during his work on board the vessels and at the office, and that safe distancing and safe management measures were adhered to, said the ministry.

After developing symptoms, he went to a general practitioner clinic the next day, where he was tested for Covid-19.

"We urge everyone to continue to exercise social responsibility, and to cooperate with the prevailing measures.

"This is yet another reminder that the virus has not been eradicated and that new cases and clusters can easily emerge in our community if we let our guard down," said the ministry.​

  • Update on cases

    New cases: 5

    Imported: 4 (2 dependant's pass holders, 1 work permit holder, 1 work pass holder) 

    In community: 1 (Singaporean) 

    In dormitories: 0

    Active cases: 63 

    In hospitals: 43 (1 in ICU)

    In community facilities: 20

    Deaths: 28 

    Patients with Covid-19 who died from other causes: 15

    Total discharged: 58,089 

    Discharged yesterday: 13

    TOTAL CASES: 58,195

Professor Teo Yik Ying, dean of the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, said the case highlights the need to remain vigilant.

"The reality is having zero cases does not mean there are no infections out there, just that we are not finding these infections," added Prof Teo.

Besides the Seoul Garden outlet in Tampines Mall, Wisteria Mall was among places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were infectious, MOH said yesterday.

A Jinjja Chicken outlet in Northpoint City and a Mr Prata outlet in Tampines were also added to the list.

The service engineer is among five new coronavirus cases announced yesterday. There were no new cases from workers' dormitories, said the ministry.

The remaining four patients were imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notices upon arrival in Singapore.

Two are dependant's pass holders who arrived from Pakistan. The other two are a work permit holder from Malaysia, and a work pass holder who arrived from Nepal.

Yesterday's new cases take Singapore's total to 58,195.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 27, 2020, with the headline 'S'porean man is first Covid-19 community case in 16 days'. Print Edition | Subscribe