New Covid-19 Cluster In Singapore Involves 1 Work Pass Holder Who Was Likely Reinfected

Thanks to contact tracing efforts and enhanced vigilance on the part of the public, Covid-19 clusters have become rare in Singapore.

On Tuesday (20 Apr), however, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced a new cluster involving 3 individuals.

One of the individuals recently travelled from India and was likely reinfected there.

Source

New Covid-19 cluster in Singapore comprises 3 individuals

According to MOH, the 3 cases in the cluster comprise 2 Permanent Residents (PR) and a Work Pass Holder:

  • 62045 (41-year-old PR)
  • 62143 (44-year-old PR and Case 62045’s husband)
  • 61536 (43-year-old Work Pass holder & Case 62045’s brother-in-law)

Case 62045, who works as an accountant, tested positive last Friday (16 Apr) after she developed a cough.

Her husband and close contact – Case 62143 – tested positive just 2 days later on 18 Apr.

He reportedly works as a manager at 2 restaurants and last reported to work on 15 Apr.

The last member of the cluster is Case 61536, a Work Pass holder who arrived from India on 2 Apr.

Source

Though he tested positive for Covid-19 upon arrival in Singapore, the authorities deemed that he was a ‘recovered case’ due to:

  • Low viral load
  • Positive serology result
  • Negative pre-departure test on 31 Mar

Since the diagnosis meant that the 43-year-old was no longer infective, he was discharged without the need for isolation.

Work Pass holder likely reinfected in India

However, on 17 Apr, the Work Pass holder had to undergo another swab test after MOH identified him as a close contact of Case 62045.

His second test returned positive.

Despite having a positive serology result – similar to the previous test – he was found to have a higher viral load.

Additionally, he reportedly had higher levels of antibody, which suggested a reinfection.

After consulting with experts, MOH assessed that this could have occurred recently, likely while he was still in India.

This then means that he was likely infectious upon arrival in Singapore, and had spread the virus to Case 62045 and 62143.

MOH tightens border restrictions against travellers from India

On Wednesday (20 Apr), MOH announced tighter border restrictions for travellers from India.

S’pore Imposes 21-Day SHN For All Travellers From India Due To Escalating Covid-19 Crisis

Instead of the usual 14-day SHN, those arriving from India would have to undergo a 21-day period of isolation.

This comprises a 14-day stay at SHN facilities and another 7 days at their places of residence.

These came after a wave of Covid-19 cases in India that resulted in more than 200,000 new infections daily.

Global Covid-19 situation remains volatile

Knowing that an infectious case was able to pass the virus on to others in the community is rather worrying.

We thus hope this incident will remind the MOH to take extra precautions in dealing with patients with prior infections.

Indeed, this incident proves just how volatile the Covid-19 situation is worldwide, and how we cannot afford to take our safety here in Singapore for granted.

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Featured image adapted from Google Maps