On 11 April, the Ministry of Health (MOH) classified a COVID-19 case of an Indian national as an unlinked dormitory case. The man was first identified to have COVID-19 on 10 Apr and resides in a dormitory. He is a lashing worker with the Seafront Support Company Pte Ltd, and works at the Pasir Panjang Terminal.
Curiously, this case is a community case as he had not recently travelled into Singapore from India, and he did not contract the disease from there. He was clearly infected here in Singapore. This makes him the first COVID-19 infection reported in a foreign worker dormitory in six weeks since the last dormitory case on 28 February.
According to the MOH, the Indian national received his first dose of COVID-19 vaccine on 25 Jan, and the second dose on 17 Feb. On 7 Apr, he was tested as part of Rostered Routine Testing (RRT).
His pooled test result came back positive for COVID-19 the next day and was immediately isolated. He was tested again on 9 Apr, and his test result came back positive for COVID-19 on 10 Apr.
He was subsequently conveyed in an ambulance to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases. His earlier tests from RRT – the last being on 24 March – were all negative for COVID-19 infection. MOH assessed that the Indian national was likely to have been infected even though he has already been vaccinated.
This case remains unlinked as the MOH as been unable to track down where he might have been reinfected.
Three subsequent cases linked to Pasir Panjang Terminal
More than two weeks later, or 18 days specifically, the MOH announced that a Myanmar national working as a stevedore at Pasir Panjang Terminal and Brani Terminal and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 28 April.
Two days later on 30 April, an Indian national working as a stevedore at Pasir Panjang Terminal and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 30 April.
Then just yesterday (5 May), yet another community case was announced, also linked to the same location. This was the sole community case in Singapore that day.
The person who contracted the COVID-19 virus is a 59 year-old Singaporean who is employed by GKE Express Logistics Pte Ltd. He works as a trailer truck driver at Brani Terminal and Pasir Panjang Terminal and has been linked to previous cases also working at those terminals.
The Singaporean developed a fever and sore throat on 2 May. The next day, he sought medical treatment at a clinic and was tested for COVID-19. His result came back positive on 4 May, and he was conveyed in an ambulance to Alexandra Hospital.
Now that several cases have been linked to the Pasir Panjang Terminal, the question is how did the Indian national become reinfected in the first place?
The Indian national has not been allowed to travel freely around the country due to prevailing strict safety measures implemented on migrant worker dormitories, meaning that he could have only caught the virus either at the Pasir Panjang Terminal or the dormitory he lives in.
But if there had not been any other cases of infection in the Indian national’s dormitory, and that he had been the earliest case found among the cluster, where could he have gotten infected?