Singapore – The first case of the B117 infection, a more contagious variant of the Covid-19 virus currently spreading in the UK, was confirmed in Singapore by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
In its Wednesday (Dec 23) update, the MOH announced Case 58504, where a 17-year-old female Singaporean who had been studying in the UK from August 2020, was confirmed to be infected with the B117 strain.
The student returned to Singapore on Dec 6 and served her stay-home-notice (SHN) at a designated facility upon arrival. The woman had developed a fever the next day and was confirmed Covid-19 positive on Dec 8.
According to MOH, all her close contacts have been placed on quarantine and tested negative for Covid-19 infection at the end of their quarantine period. “As she had been isolated upon arrival in Singapore, we were able to ringfence this case so that there was no further transmission arising from her,” said MOH.
The agency noted that the National Public Health Laboratory is performing viral genomic sequencing for confirmed Covid-19 cases that arrived from Europe recently.
A total of 31 imported cases from Europe, who arrived in Singapore between Nov 17 and Dec 17, 2020, were confirmed Covid-19 positive in Dec 2020. Amongst them, 12 were not infected with the B117 strain. Five samples could not be sequenced due to the low viral load. Another 11 cases are waiting for confirmatory results while the remaining two cases have not been tested thus far, said MOH.
“There is currently no evidence that the B117 strain is circulating in the community,” added MOH.
As a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of spread of the B117 strain to Singapore, the Multi-Ministry Taskforce announced on Wednesday that from Dec 23, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK within the last 14 days would not be allowed entry into Singapore or transit through Singapore.
Returning Singapore citizens and permanent residents will be required to undergo a Covid-19 PCR test upon arrival in Singapore, at the start of their 14-day SHN, added MOH.
On Dec 23, MOH confirmed 21 imported cases, 20 of whom are asymptomatic.
Amongst the imported cases, three are Singaporeans and five are Singapore permanent residents who returned from Canada, India, and the UK. Another nine cases are foreign domestic workers who arrived from Indonesia, India, and Myanmar. Meanwhile, two cases are Student’s Pass holders, while the remaining two are Short-Term Visit Pass holders.
All individuals have been placed on SHN.