5 friends in S'pore visit 1 household for CNY, end up 14 people get Covid-19

How Omicron peaks.

Belmont Lay | February 16, 2022, 04:44 PM

Looks like the Chinese New Year period in Singapore has facilitated the spread of Covid-19 Omicron infections.

Singapore reported a record 19,420 new Covid-19 cases as of 12pm on Tuesday, Feb. 15, two weeks after the first day of the Lunar New Year, which also coincided with the tail-end of the festive period.

Shin Min Daily News reported on a situation in Singapore where a Chinese New Year visitation among five friends and a host family resulted in 14 people eventually coming down with Covid-19 infection.

About the case

A 45-year-old woman, surnamed Lin, tipped Shin Min off regarding what happened to her.

The article did not specify why she came forward with her experience other than to share it as cautionary anecdote to be careful in the face of the Omicron variant.

She said she and four other friends visited another friend's house on the sixth day of the Lunar New Year, which culminated in 14 people getting infected with Covid-19 as those present brought the virus back home, likely from one infected person in their midst.

The gathering, which was legal as it adhered to the regulation of no more than five visitors per day per household, lasted six hours.

Lin said the spread was due to everyone present intermingling with masks removed.

She told Shin Min: "The owner invited us to lunch, and I arrived later than the others, sometime in the afternoon, because of business. We were chatting and drinking coffee, and we left at dinner time."

She said that she didn't think too much about the implications at that time.

Moreover, according to her, everyone felt in good health.

Those present took the antigen rapid test recently, and they were following the rule on house visits, so everyone did not specifically ask to wear a mask when not eating or drinking.

Positive test two days after gathering

Two days later, one person in the gathering tested positive.

The others who were at the gathering were notified, and five guests tested Covid-19 positive.

Those who tested positive at the gathering in turn infected their own family members.

In the end, 14 people tested positive.

Those infected between age 10 to in their 60s

The woman who tipped Shin Min off said: "The youngest of the 14 people infected is a 10-year-old, while the eldest is in his 60s. Five people in the host's family, including children, were diagnosed with Covid-19."

"The others returned home and spread the virus to their children or their parents, or in multi-generation homes."

"There is no one to blame, after all, as no one wants to get Covid-19, but I still feel sorry to learn that an elderly person has been infected."

Lin said all confirmed cases have symptoms but are recovering at home.

She told Shin Min she would like to remind everyone to wear a mask during visitations, especially if there are elderly people living with them.

Lin added that the ones that did not get sick were the younger children.

Even though this appeared to be a blessing in disguise as the younger ones were spared infection, the problem was that having multiple people in one household come down with Covid-19 is a major issue as the adults cannot take care of one another.

Omicron peak here?

Alex Cook, infectious disease modelling expert and an associate professor at the National University of Singapore's Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, told Shin Min it is not easy to estimate when the Omicron peak will arrive.

This is due to multiple factors affecting the number of confirmed cases reported.

For example, weekend numbers plunge as fewer people seek medical help, but numbers on Tuesdays skyrocket after people go to the doctor for consultations on Mondays.

Moreover, with Singapore still imposing slightly stricter measures to regulate social behaviour as compared to other countries with more lax rules, the spread of the Omicron variant may not have fully materialised.

In Parliament, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said Covid-19 cases are expected to reach 15,000 to 20,000 or more per day, due to Omicron being highly infectious.

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