At least 1 case of new UK Covid-19 strain found among imported cases in S'pore: MOH

11 cases are 'preliminary positive' and pending confirmatory results.

Nigel Chua | December 23, 2020, 11:50 PM

The Ministry of Health (MOH) reported that there were no new cases of locally-transmitted Covid-19 infections today (Dec. 23).

There were, however, 21 new imported cases, making it the fifth day in a row where the number of new cases was a double-digit figure.

New strain of Covid-19 from UK

MOH said that the National Public Health Laboratory is performing viral genomic sequencing for confirmed Covid-19 cases who had arrived from Europe recently, in light of the reports of the new potentially more contagious B117 strain circulating in the UK.

A total of 31 imported cases from Europe, who arrived in Singapore between November 17 and December 17, were confirmed to have Covid-19 infection in December 2020.

29 of them have been tested so far for the B117 strain. Of the 29:

  • 1 (Case 58504) has been found to carry it.
  • 11 cases are "preliminary positive", and MOH is pending "confirmatory results".
  • 12 were not infected with the strain.
  • 5 had low viral load, and samples cannot be sequenced.

"No evidence that B117 strain is circulating in the community"

MOH said that there is "currently no evidence that the B117 strain is circulating in the community," as all the cases had been placed on SHN at dedicated facilities or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, with their close contacts being quarantined.

Case 58504 is a 17 year-old female Singaporean who had been studying in the UK from Aug. 2020. She returned to Singapore on Dec. 6 and served SHN at a dedicated facility, before developing a fever on Dec. 7. She was confirmed to have Covid-19 on Dec. 8.

MOH said that Case 58504 was isolated upon arrival and that "there was no further transmission arising from her".

The Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on Dec. 22 that long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK in the last 14 days would not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

Imported cases

Amongst the imported cases reported today, three are Singaporeans, five are Singapore Permanent Residents, and nine are foreign domestic workers.

There are also two Student's Pass holders who arrived from India.

The remaining cases are Short-Term Visit Pass holders.

All had been placed on stay home notice (SHN) upon arrival in Singapore.

The cases arrived from countries such as Canada, India, and the UK, Indonesia, India, Myanmar, and Sweden.

34 patients still in hospital

There are currently 34 Covid-19 patients in hospital, and none in the intensive care unit.

97 are isolated and cared for at community facilities, while 29 have passed away from complications due to Covid-19 infection.

List of locations

MOH regularly updates a list of public places visited by confirmed Covid-19 cases for more than 30 minutes when they were infectious.

No new places were added to the list on Dec. 23.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Screenshot from MOH[/caption]

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

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Top image via Changi Airport Group on Facebook.