New Covid-19 cluster found after wife and older son of Chinatown Complex shop owner test positive

The Chinatown Complex stall owner tested positive after taking part in community surveillance testing. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

SINGAPORE - The wife and older son of the owner of a Chinatown Complex sundry shop, who was confirmed to have Covid-19 this week, are Singapore's two newest community coronavirus cases.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced their cases, and the formation of the latest coronavirus cluster, on Friday (Feb 12).

The son, a 33-year-old Singaporean, is currently unemployed and was placed on quarantine at a dedicated facility on Wednesday (Feb 10), when his father tested positive for the virus. The son was tested on Thursday even though he did not display any symptoms, and his test result came back positive the same day, MOH said.

His serology test result was positive, indicating a possible past infection.

The wife, a 62-year-old female Singaporean, is a homemaker and was also placed on quarantine on Wednesday. She was also tested on Thursday even though she was asymptomatic, and her test result came back positive the same day, MOH said.

Her serology test result was negative, indicating this is likely a current infection.

The Chinatown Complex stall owner, who worked at the market building, tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday when he took part in community surveillance testing of stallholders and shop owners on the same day.

The 66-year-old Singapore permanent resident had developed a dry cough on Jan 28 and anosmia, or loss of smell, on Tuesday (Feb 9).

His younger son, who is 32 and a Singaporean, had been placed on quarantine on Wednesday and was confirmed to have the virus earlier on Thursday. He works part-time as a waiter at Swensen's in Changi Airport Terminal 3, and was last at work on Monday.

On Friday, MOH noted that all identified close contacts of the cases, including their family members and co-workers, had been isolated and placed on quarantine. Serological tests will also be done to determine if the cases could have been infected by them.

The ministry also noted that like their two other family members, both of the latest patients do not use the TraceTogether App. And while they both have TraceTogether tokens, they did not carry their tokens with them.

"Effective contact tracing is an important enabler to ringfence community transmission," MOH said.

"Individuals are reminded to turn on their TraceTogether App or carry their TraceTogether token at all times so that we can quickly identify and isolate the close contacts of Covid-19 cases, and limit further infections," it added.

On Friday, the ministry also confirmed 16 imported cases, taking Singapore's total to 59,777.

The imported cases include three Singapore permanent residents - two aged 32 and 59 who returned from Indonesia and one aged 15 who returned from India - as well as a dependant's pass holder who arrived from the UAE, and four work pass holders who arrived from Myanmar, the Philippines and UAE.

Seven work permit holders - six of them foreign domestic workers - from India, Indonesia and Myanmar also tested positive.

One of the imported cases is a long-term visit pass holder who arrived from Indonesia on Nov 26 and served a stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Dec 10.

His swab done on Dec 6 was negative for Covid-19, but his infection was detected when he took a Covid-19 pre-departure test on Wednesday (Feb 10) in preparation for his return to Indonesia. His test result came back positive the next day, although the Ct value was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load. His serological test result has also come back positive.

"He reported that before his trip to Singapore, he had interacted with his sibling in Indonesia who was confirmed to have Covid-19 infection in October 2020. Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported," MOH said.

"He is 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 increased from four cases in the week before to eight cases in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased from three cases in the week before to five cases in the past week.

A total of 31 patients remain in hospital, including one in the intensive care unit, while 148 are recuperating in community facilities.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.