As of Wednesday noon (23 Dec), the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed 21 new cases of COVID-19 infection.
This brings the total number of infection cases to 58,482.
Amongst the new cases today, 20 are asymptomatic and were detected from screening and surveillance, while 1 was symptomatic.
All cases are imported, who had already been placed on Stay-Home Notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore. Eight of them are Singaporeans or permanent residents, and nine are foreign domestic workers.
Amongst the 21 imported cases, 3 (Cases 58715, 58716 and 58717) are Singaporeans and 5 (Cases 58698, 58710, 58712, 58713 and 58714) are Singapore Permanent Residents who returned from Canada, India and the UK. Another 9 (Cases 58699, 58700, 58701, 58702, 58703, 58704, 58705, 58706 and 58707) are foreign domestic workers who arrived from Indonesia, India and Myanmar.
In addition, there are 2 Student’s Pass holders (Cases 58718 and 58719) who arrived from India. The remaining cases are Short-Term Visit Pass holders. Case 58709 arrived from India to visit his Singaporean relatives and Case 58708 arrived from Sweden to board a ship docked here as a crew member.
There are no new cases linked to clusters today.
Confirmation of 1 case with UK virus strain
In light of recent reports that the B117 strain, a potentially more contagious strain of the COVID-19 virus, is circulating in the UK, the National Public Health Laboratory is performing viral genomic sequencing for confirmed COVID-19 cases who had arrived from Europe recently.
A total of 31 imported cases from Europe, who arrived in Singapore between 17 November and 17 December 2020, were confirmed to have COVID-19 infection in December 2020. Amongst them, 12 were not infected with the B117 strain, and 1 (Case 58504) has been found to carry the B117 strain.
5 samples cannot be sequenced due to their low viral load, and we are pending confirmatory results for another 11 cases who are preliminarily positive for the B117 strain. 2 cases have not been tested so far.
According to the ministry, there is currently no evidence that the B117 strain is circulating in the community. All the cases had been placed on 14-day SHN at dedicated facilities or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, and their close contacts had been quarantined earlier.
Case 58504, who was infected with the B117 strain, is a 17-year-old female Singaporean who had been studying in the UK from August 2020. She returned to Singapore on 6 December and served SHN at a dedicated SHN facility upon arrival. She developed a fever the next day and was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on 8 December. Her case was included in our case count on the same day.
The ministry noted that all her close contacts had been placed on quarantine, and had tested negative for COVID-19 infection at the end of their quarantine period.
As a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of spread to Singapore, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on Tuesday that from 23 December 2020, 2359 hours, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore or transit through Singapore. Returning SCs and PRs will be required to undergo a COVID-19 PCR test upon arrival in Singapore, at the start of their 14-day SHN.
Update on condition of confirmed cases
18 more cases of COVID-19 infection have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities. In all, 58,322 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospitals or community care facilities.
There are currently 34 confirmed cases who are still in the hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit. 97 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are those who have mild symptoms or are clinically well but still test positive for COVID-19.
29 have passed away from complications due to COVID-19 infection.