So far, there are at least 10 COVID-19 community cases in Singapore of the Indian variant, five of which are linked to the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTS) cluster. This includes a 46-year-old Filipino nurse who is fully vaccinated, and a fully vaccinated doctor who had attended to patients in the hospitals Ward 9D. Three more are the patients in that ward between the ages of 57 and 79.
The variant detected—B.1.617 and B.1.617.3—are present in a total of 131 cases in Singapore as of Monday (3 May). The Ministry of Health (MOH) had announced earlier that there were 46 imported cases of the Indian variant in Singapore as of 20 April.
The TTSH cluster now as 40 cases, including one fatality of an 88-year-old Singaporean patient who had been warded in 9D.
The other five community cases infected with the Indian variant outside of the TTSH cluster includes a 38-year-old Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) officer working at Changi Airport Terminal 1. He is linked to the Case 62517 cluster which has 11 cases linked to it, 10 of whom are family members of the officer.
Another community case with the Indian variant is a 39-year-old Vietnamese woman employed as a cleaner by Octo Jet Building Maintenance Services and was stations at the community care facility at Tuas South. There are four cases linked to her.
The remaining three cases are part of the Case 62045 cluster, linked to a 41-year-old permanent resident employed as an accountant at OM Universal at 11 Kaki Bukit Road. The cluster is named after this woman.
The increasing number of cases linked to the Indian variant of the virus is unsurprising as Singapore recorded a total of 212 COVID-cases in just on week (6 April to 2 May), of which 71 infections involved those who arrived directly from India.
This translates to 33.5 percent of the country’s cases for the past week.
Of the 25 imported cases, 12 were those who flew directly from India while five were Indian nationals who flew from Nepal. This means that the total number of travellers linked to India arriving in Singapore on a single day is 17 out of 25 infected cases.
Local cases of various strains rise from 8 to 29
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s COVID-19 weekly epidemiological updated on27 April, more than 1,200 sequences have been uploaded to the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GISAID). The database is the world’s largest collection of novel coronavirus genome sequences.
Based on the database, most sequences if of the B.1.617 variant have been uploaded from India, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Singapore. This includes several sublineages.
WHO noted that the based on the data submitted to GISAID, the B.1.617 variant has a higher growth rate compared to the other variants present in India, which suggests “suggesting potential increased transmissibility, with other co-circulating variants also demonstrating increased transmissibility”.
Basically, that this variant may be more infectious.
According to the MOH, of the other variants of COVID-19 detected in Singapore so far, 118 cases are of the UK variant. Seven of those have been local cases. There have also been 8 local cases of the South African variant from a total of 166 cases.
Another three local cases have been of the Brazilian strain and one of the B.1.525 strain.
In total, there are 29 local cases and 475 imported cases in Singapore of various strains as of 3 May, for a total of 504 cases.
This is a sharp rise from just two weeks ago in April when MOH’s data showed that there were 350 cases of various COVID-19 various including eight local cases.