CID & MOH solve mystery of how the Grace Assembly of God cluster came about

A Chinese New Year gathering at Mei Hwan Drive on Jan. 25 is how the infection spread between the churches.

Tanya Ong | Matthias Ang | February 25, 2020, 06:41 PM

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The largest cluster of Covid-19 cases in Singapore is in the two Grace Assembly of God (GAOG) churches.

As of Tuesday (Feb. 25), the number of infections connected to the GAOG cluster is 23, while the number of infections connected with the Life Church and Missions cluster is eight.

There has been effective contact tracing between members, and finding the members that might be affected with Covid-19.

But even with all the detailed tracing, one question has loomed large.

How did the virus first make its way into the Grace Assembly of God churches?

Likely originated with Cases 8 and 9

So far, what we know about Life Church and Missions is that a married couple, who are both Chinese nationals from Wuhan, had been to the church on the morning of Jan. 19.

Both of them are cases 8 and 9.

They had arrived in Singapore on Jan. 19 and were asymptomatic during the flight, with symptoms subsequently developing on Jan. 24.

Their infections were confirmed on Jan. 28 at about 11pm and Jan. 29 at about 2pm respectively.

Contact tracing subsequently found that they were also confirmed to have infected six other people (cases 31, 33, 38, 83, 90 and 91) at the church.

MOH and CID found that case 91 likely came into contact with cases 8 and 9 on Jan. 19.

Cases 83 and 91 went to a CNY gathering at Mei Hwan Drive

On Jan. 25, both Cases 83 and 91, who are married to each other, headed for a Chinese New Year gathering on at Mei Hwan Drive.

Following this, seven people present at the gathering were found to be infected: Case 66, a staff member with GAOG, and cases 68, 70, 71, 80, 84 and 88.

Prior to the gathering, case 91 already began experiencing an onset of respiratory symptoms, similar to most respiratory diseases, on Jan. 23.

She headed to Sengkang General Hospital for treatment for respiratory symptoms, and also visited several clinics after that.

However, she was not tested for the virus then.

When she recovered is also unclear, although it is certain that by the time she was contacted by the police for contact tracing, she no longer displayed any symptoms.

GAOG became a cluster following the gathering

Meanwhile, case 66 in turn resulted in GAOG becoming the largest cluster of Covid-19 infections from Jan. 29 to Feb. 9, with a total of 16 cases emerging.

He reported an onset of symptoms on January 29 and had sought treatment at a GP clinic on February 2, February 5 and February 12.

He was referred to the National Centre of Infectious Diseases on February 12.

Subsequent test results confirmed Covid-19 infection on February 14 morning.

Top image collage from Life Church Singapore Facebook and Grace Assembly of God website