23 new Covid-19 cases in Singapore, with 21 imported and 2 in community

SINGAPORE – There were 23 new coronavirus cases confirmed as at Friday noon (Jan 8), taking Singapore’s total to 58,836.

They included 21 imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notices on arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Friday’s figure also included two community cases.

No new cases from within workers’ dormitories were announced.

More details will be announced on Friday night.

On Thursday, the Health Ministry said Crowne Plaza Changi Airport will be closed for two weeks from Friday after a second unlinked Covid-19 case – a Malaysian working at the hotel’s Azur restaurant – emerged.

MOH said it is closing the hotel until Jan 21 as a precautionary measure as it cannot rule out the possibility that transmissions could have occurred at the hotel.

The hotel will stop accepting new guests, and foreign air crew and guests currently staying at the hotel will be checked out progressively, said MOH.

Incoming air crew will be housed in alternative facilities, it added.

Restaurant and event spaces within the hotel will also be closed, and deep cleaning and disinfection carried out. MOH has also started to test all staff working at the hotel for Covid-19.

The second case at Azur is a 43-year-old Malaysian work permit holder who delivers pre-packed meals to air crew and hotel guests. She was one of two unlinked community cases reported on Thursday.

A Korean national was confirmed as a Covid-19 patient on Wednesday. Like the Korean, the Malaysian woman does not interact with diners at the restaurant.

MOH said she developed symptoms while at work on Sunday and went on Tuesday to a general practitioner clinic, where she was tested. Her result came back positive for Covid-19 infection the next day, and she was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases in an ambulance.

Her serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection.

Preliminary investigations reveal that she probably does not have the more infectious British strain of Covid-19, said MOH.

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The second community case is a 63-year-old cargo operator at AirMark Aviation who is based at Dnata Cargo Centre.

He mainly handles loading and unloading of cargo for My Indo Airlines, and does not interact with flight passengers.

He developed symptoms on Monday and sought treatment at Changi General Hospital on Wednesday. He was confirmed to be positive for Covid-19 on the same day and warded. His serological test result is pending.

There were also 31 imported cases confirmed on Thursday. They comprise four Singaporeans, three permanent residents, three dependant’s pass holders, two work pass holders and 19 work permit holders.

They tested positive while serving stay-home notice or in isolation after their arrival in Singapore, said MOH.

They came from several countries, including India, Bangladesh and Indonesia. Except for one case, all were placed on stay-home notices upon arrival in Singapore.

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The work permit holder arrived from Bangladesh on Dec 22 last year but could not clear immigration due to incomplete documentation. He was held at a facility located at the airport’s transit area until Dec 24, and taken to a dedicated stay-home notice facility after the issues were resolved.

Apart from Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, Sri Senpaga Vinayagar Temple and NTUC Income at 2 Tampines Central 6 were on Thursday added to places visited by Covid-19 patients while they were still infectious.

Those who had been identified as close contacts of confirmed cases would already have been notified by MOH.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has increased from seven cases in the week before to nine cases in the past week.

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

With 21 cases discharged on Thursday, 58,547 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 61 patients remained in hospital on Thursday, including one in the intensive care unit, while 161 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 29 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 87.9 million people. More than 1.89 million people have died.

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