24 new Covid-19 community cases, including 17 linked to Changi Airport cluster

SINGAPORE – There were 24 new coronavirus cases in the community announced on Thursday (May 13), the highest daily number recorded since July 11, 2020, when Singapore reported 24 cases.

Of the community cases the Ministry of Health (MOH) revealed on Thursday, 17 are linked to the Changi Airport cluster. This takes the total number of patients in the cluster to 42.

One other community case is linked to previous cases. The remaining six cases are currently unlinked.

Among these community patients, 14 had already been placed on quarantine.

In total, there were 32 new coronavirus cases reported on Thursday (May 13).

The new cases take Singapore’s total tally to 61,451, with 12 active clusters.

The other eight cases were imported and had been placed on stay-home notice (SHN) on arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

There were no cases from the workers’ dormitories.

Separately, JurongHealth Campus, which Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) is a part of, said the current symptoms experienced by an NTFGH staff who tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday was assessed to be because of the rhinovirus, which causes the common cold.

In a Facebook post on Thursday, it said the NTFGH operating theatre technician was confirmed positive for rhinovirus after being tested for other common viruses which cause acute respiratory illness.

Given his positive serology result and high CT values, the campus added that he is likely to be shedding minute fragments of Covid-19 from a past infection, which is no longer transmissible nor infective to others.

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Meanwhile, all patients that the man had been in contact with have tested negative for Covid-19.

As a precautionary measure, his household contacts have also been swabbed and their results are pending.

“We are glad that our colleague is currently recovering well and we will continue to support him and his family,” said the statement.

More details will be announced on Thursday night.

On Wednesday, there were 16 cases of Covid-19 infection confirmed, 10 of which are community cases and the other six imported ones.

Of the community cases, seven are linked to the Changi Airport cluster.

Members of the public who had visited Changi Airport Terminal 3 since May 3 will be offered free Covid-19 testing, said MOH.

“MOH will progressively inform these individuals via SMS notification with information on how to book an appointment for their test,” it added.

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The sole unlinked case is another hospital worker – this time at Sengkang General Hospital.

He is a 33-year-old operating theatre nurse who had received both doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. He has preliminarily tested positive for the B1617 variant of the virus first identified in India.

Three of the seven new cases linked to the Changi Airport cluster have also preliminarily tested positive for the B1617 variant.

They are a 39-year-old man and a 38-year-old woman, who both work as Immigration and Checkpoints Authority officers at Terminal 3, and a 65-year-old cleaner employed by Ramky Cleantech Services, also working at Terminal 3.

Five of the seven are fully vaccinated.

The remaining cases comprise another cleaner – a 62-year-old – also employed by Ramky CleanTech Services, a 24-year-old employed by Huawei Enterprise as an IT engineer at Terminal 4, a 28-year-old employed by Certis Cisco at Terminal 3 and a 42-year-old sales associate at a retail store at Terminal 3.

They are all men.

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The other two community cases were linked to other clusters.

The first is a 36-year-old Vietnamese woman who is a short-term visit pass holder. She is a household contact of the Grab driver who was confirmed to have Covid-19 on May 8 – prompting the designation of a new cluster.

The last community case is a 64-year-old Singaporean woman who had been warded at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s Ward 9D. Her Covid-19 test on Tuesday while under quarantine returned positive. She had previously tested negative on April 26, April 28 and April 30.

MOH said the six imported cases had been placed on SHN.

The number of new cases in the community has decreased from 62 cases two weeks ago to 49 in the past week.

However, the number of unlinked cases in the community in a week has increased from seven cases to 12 over the same period.

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With 31 cases discharged on Wednesday, 60,991 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 143 patients remain in hospital, including three in critical condition in the intensive care unit, while 239 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 31 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

Globally, the virus outbreak, which began in December 2019, has infected more than 160 million people. Over 3.33 million people have died.

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