Sole Covid-19 community case in S'pore is a Myanmar maid who initially tested negative

MOH reported 12 new Covid-19 cases, with 1 in the community, on March 26, 2021.
MOH reported 12 new Covid-19 cases, with 1 in the community, on March 26, 2021.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - The sole coronavirus case in the community on Friday (March 26) was a 26-year-old Myanmar national employed as a foreign domestic worker here, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

This is the first locally transmitted Covid-19 case reported since March 12.

She developed a cough and a runny nose on March 23, the day she started work at her employer's residence. She went to a GP the next day and was tested for Covid-19.

Her test result came back positive on March 25, and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance.

Another test conducted by the National Public Health Laboratory on March 25 was negative for Covid-19 infection, and her serological test result was positive.

She had previously tested negative for the virus during her stay-home notice (SHN).

She arrived from Myanmar on Jan 23 and served SHN at a dedicated facility until Feb 6. Her test taken on Feb 5 during SHN was negative.

Following her SHN, she moved into a boarding house for foreign domestic workers while waiting for deployment to an employer, and had not left the boarding house from Feb 6 to March 23.

"She could be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA from a past infection, but given that we are not able to definitively conclude that she had been infected before her arrival in Singapore, we will take all the necessary public health actions as a precautionary measure," said MOH.

Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, the ministry added.

In the meantime, all the identified close contacts of the case, including her contacts at the boarding house and employer’s residence, have been isolated and placed on quarantine.

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

MOH will also conduct serological tests for the close contacts to determine if the case could have been infected by them.

There were a total of 12 new coronavirus cases taking Singapore’s total to 60,265.

The other 11 cases were imported cases that had been placed on stay-home notice or isolated on arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

They included two Singaporeans returning from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

With 17 cases discharged on Friday, 60,088 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 27 patients remain in hospital, including one in critical condition in the intensive care unit, while 105 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 30 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.