New local cluster formed; 8-year-old boy is latest case in para-vet group

The number of cases in the community has increased to 14 cases in the past week from six cases the week before. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - The wife and housemate of a 33-year-old Chinese man who tested positive for Covid-19 last Saturday have also tested positive for the infection, forming a new local cluster, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a statement on Tuesday night (Jan 19).

The two Chinese nationals are work permit holders who were identified as close contacts and put under quarantine last Friday. Both subsequently tested positive for the infection on Sunday during their quarantine periods.

The woman is 48 years old and employed as a food processing worker at Soon Lee Heng Satay Foodstuff Manufacturer located in Woodlands Loop, while the man is 31 and a co-worker of the previous case at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing in Senoko.

Both were asymptomatic when tested and have had their serological tests come back negative, indicating a likely current infection.

"Two of the newly confirmed cases (Cases 59419 and 59420) are linked to one previous case (Case 59343) to form the Case 59343 cluster," said MOH in its statement.

The announcement of this new cluster comes on the back of multi-ministry task force co-chair Lawrence Wong's warning on Monday that additional measures may be necessary as community cases inch up in Singapore.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was also announced that a pilot programme to reopen karaoke venues and nightclubs would be put on pause indefinitely due to rising community infections.

This is the second local cluster that has been discovered in recent weeks. MOH also reported that another case has been linked to the para-vet cluster, bringing the number of cases up to seven.

He is an eight-year-old boy who is the son of the administrative officer and his wife who previously tested positive for the infection. The boy is a pupil at Chua Chu Kang Primary School, and had last gone to school last Friday. He was identified as a close contact of the couple and quarantined the next day.

He was swabbed on the same day and his result came back negative for Covid-19.

MOH says that this means there is therefore no risk of transmission to the pupils he had contact with previously.

However, the boy subsequently developed a fever on Sunday while he was in quarantine, and was tested again at KK Women's and Children's Hospital. This time, his test came back positive for the virus. His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

The final community case reported on Tuesday is currently unlinked.

He is a 39-year-old permanent resident who works as a sales personnel at BS Industrial & Construction Supply in Kallang.

He developed a fever last Saturday, and went to a polyclinic two days later, where he was tested for the virus.

His test result came back positive for Covid-19 infection on the same day, and he was taken to hospital in an ambulance. His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

Along with these four community cases, there were also 26 imported cases for a total of 30, bringing Singapore's total up to 59,157.

The 26 cases comprised four Singaporeans, three permanent residents, two student's pass holders, one work pass holder and 16 work permit holders, of whom three are foreign domestic workers.

The Singaporeans and PRs arrived from Indonesia, Ireland, Myanmar and Britain. The two student pass holders came from Bulgaria and Malaysia, while the one work pass holder travelled from the United Arab Emirates. The 16 work permit holders came from Bangladesh, India and Indonesia.

The number of cases in the community has increased to 14 cases in the past week from six cases the week before. The number of unlinked cases in the community has also increased to five cases in the past week from four cases in the week before.

With 26 cases discharged on Tuesday, 58,879 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 45 patients remain in hospital, with none in intensive care, while 189 are recuperating in community facilities.

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

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