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3rd Covid-19 infection at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport; prelim test finds case has more infectious UK strain

SINGAPORE — One of the two locally transmitted Covid-19 cases reported on Friday (Jan 8) here is a 20-year-old man who has tested preliminarily positive for the potentially more contagious B117 strain that was first discovered in the United Kingdom. He is the third case to be linked to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel.

A third case of Covid-19 has been linked to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel.

A third case of Covid-19 has been linked to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel.

SINGAPORE — One of the two locally transmitted Covid-19 cases reported on Friday (Jan 8) here is a 20-year-old man who has tested preliminarily positive for the potentially more contagious B117 strain that was first discovered in the United Kingdom.

He is the third case to be linked to the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport hotel.

MOH said that the Singaporean man works at the Azur restaurant in the hotel and that his job entails delivering pre-packed meals to air crew and hotel guests. He does not interact with diners at Azur.

His earlier tests from the fortnightly Rostered Routine Testing of workers — the last being on Jan 1 — were negative for the coronavirus.

MOH said that the man had been identified as a close contact of an earlier case at the premises — a 24-year-old South Korean work permit holder — and was placed on quarantine on Jan 5 at a quarantine facility.

He developed acute respiratory infection symptoms on Jan 7, and was swabbed on the same day.

His test then came back positive for Covid-19 and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Disease.

“His serological test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection. He has also tested preliminarily positive for the B117 strain, and is pending further confirmatory tests,” MOH said.

The ministry had announced on Thursday that the hotel will be closed for two weeks from Jan 8 to 21 after two unlinked Covid-19 cases were detected there.

The Korean work permit holder's case was first reported on Wednesday and MOH had said that preliminary test had also shown that he had the more infectious B117 strain.

The second case announced on Thursday was a 43-year-old Malaysian woman. Preliminary investigations reveal that she is probably not infected with the B117 strain, MOH had said on Thursday.  

Both the two earlier cases work at the same restaurant and have the same jobscope.

"From our preliminary investigations, we cannot exclude that transmissions could have occurred at the hotel," MOH said on Friday. 

It has started a special operation to test 234 employees working at Crowne Plaza Changi Airport for Covid-19 infection.

So far, 233 staff members have been swabbed. Of these, 129 test results have been processed, and all of them have come back negative.

Another 104 test results are pending.

“We are facilitating testing for the remaining staff,” MOH said.

In a press statement before the update on the third case, the Crown Plaza Changi Airport said that the safety and well-being of hotel guests and employees are its top priority and it will continue to work in close cooperation with the relevant authorities in their investigations.

"The hotel will also be implementing tighter measures as an additional precaution to further minimise the risk of further infections, and is in the process of thoroughly deep-cleaning and disinfecting our premises under the guidance of MOH and the National Environment Agency," it added.

Responding on Thursday to TODAY's queries, a spokesperson for the Institute of Technical Education said that two of its students interning at the hotel had been quarantined following the detection of cases there.

"They had not been on campus since last December," the spokesperson added. 

OTHER COMMUNITY CASE LINKED TO MARINE WORKER

The other case in the community is a 34-year-old Singaporean man who works as a harbour pilot at PSA Marine located at 70 West Coast Ferry Road.

MOH said that his work entails going onboard vessels to navigate them through congested waters.

It added that his earlier tests from the routine testing of workers — the last being on Dec 28 — were negative for the virus.

The man had been identified as a close contact of a previous case — another harbour pilot — and was placed on quarantine on Jan 1 at a quarantine facility.

MOH said that the man’s swab done on Jan 3 tested negative for the virus. Another test taken on Jan 7, however, came back positive. He was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. He then developed symptoms the next day.

“His serological test result is pending,” MOH said.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has gone down from 10 cases in the week before to eight in the past week.

The number of unlinked cases in the community has, however, gone up from four cases in the week before to five in the past week.

IMPORTED CASES

For the 21 imported cases, they were:

  • Four Singaporeans and four permanent residents who returned from India, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • One dependant’s pass holder who arrived from the UAE
  • One student’s pass holder who came from India
  • Two work pass holders who arrived from India
  • Eight work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and Malaysia, of whom four are foreign domestic workers
  • One short-term visit pass holder who arrived from India to visit her spouse who is a permanent resident

UPDATES ON REMAINING CASES

The total number of infections in Singapore is now 58,836.

Of these, 58,580 people have fully recovered and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities, including 18 on Friday.

There are still 61 patients in hospitals and most are in stable condition or improving, except for one who is in intensive care.

Another 166 patients are isolated at community facilities. They have mild symptoms or are clinically well but still tested positive for Covid-19.

Twenty-nine people have died from complications due to the disease.

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MOH Covid-19 coronavirus

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