On July 14, Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak from the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the first case linked to the KTV cluster of Covid-19 cases is a short-term visit pass holder from Vietnam.
According to Mak, she visited a clinic on July 11 with acute respiratory infection symptoms and tested positive for Covid-19. Subsequent investigations found that she had visited many KTV outlets.
However, on July 16, Mak said that while this woman was the first case detected that is linked to the cluster, she may not be the first infected case.
Specific transmission mode not yet delineated
During a press conference by the Multi-Ministry Task Force on July 16, Mak said:
"This index case is only the first case to be detected by our clinics, and to be treated for Covid-19 in this cluster. She is not necessarily the infected person who brought that infection into this particular setting."
He added that given that she has been in Singapore for a period of time, it's highly likely that this cluster was seeded through community spread, and the mode of specific transmission is still something that the authorities have not fully delineated.
The investigations initially focused on her close contacts and her boyfriend, with contact tracing ongoing.
Joint MOM-ICA statement gave more details on short term pass holders
A joint statement from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and the Immigrations & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) in the early hours of July 16 said that according to ICA checks, the Vietnamese woman entered Singapore in February 2021.
She did so via the Familial Ties Lane, sponsored by a Singapore Citizen who is her boyfriend.
The statement added that the MOM-issued pass holder entered Singapore before the imposition of border entry measures last year, on March 21, 2020.
That was when entry approvals were introduced to manage Covid-19 importation and transmission risks.
ICA has been assessing applications to extend short-term visit passes on a case-by-case basis taking into consideration extenuating reasons, such as international travel restrictions, flight availability, and whether the applicants have family ties in Singapore.
At the moment, Vietnamese nationals can only return to Vietnam via relief flights arranged by the Vietnamese authorities.
Top image from MCI.