Bus driver who transports people from Singapore’s Changi Airport to stay-home notice facilities infected by Covid-19

The 49-year-old driver fetches passengers from Changi Airport to the dedicated stay-home notice facilities. — TODAY pic
The 49-year-old driver fetches passengers from Changi Airport to the dedicated stay-home notice facilities. — TODAY pic

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SINGAPORE — A Singaporean bus driver whose job entails transporting people who have to be isolated on stay-home notice, as well as an engineer who had received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, made up the two cases of Covid-19 in the community yesterday.

In its update on the coronavirus situation here, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the 49-year-old driver is employed by Cobb & Coach Services and fetches passengers from Changi Airport to the dedicated stay-home notice facilities. He has his bus disinfected after every trip.

Just a day before, the ministry reported that a 43-year-old Singaporean man who was deployed to work at Changi Airport Terminal 1 and Terminal 3, to issue electronic monitoring devices to individuals who will be serving their stay-home notices, had contracted the virus. The bus driver in yesterday’s announcement did not seek medical attention when he developed a runny nose on January 31.

He was detected when he was tested for the virus on February 5 as part of the regular routine testing of workers. MOH noted that his earlier tests — the last being on January 23 — were negative.

His pooled test result, however, came back positive for the virus on Saturday and an individual test was done later that night at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

The result was positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

“His serology test result has come back negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection,” MOH said.

The other case in the community is a 30-year-old Indian national who works as an engineer at Station Satcom. As part of his job, he boards ships to install communications and IT equipment, MOH said.

The man had earlier been identified as a contact of a previous case and had been placed on quarantine from January 13 to 24.

His swabs taken during quarantine on January 13 and 21 were negative for the virus, as was another test on January 29.

However, on February 4, the man experienced fatigue and had a fever the next day but did not see a doctor.

He was tested for Covid-19 on February 5 as part of the regular routine testing of workers.

After the diagnosis was confirmed the next day, he was taken to NCID.

While his serological test taken on February 7 has come back positive, this is assessed to be a recent infection as he is symptomatic, MOH said.

The ministry noted that the man had received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on January 27, which “accounts for his positive serology test as he has likely started producing antibodies following vaccination”.

“As the vaccine does not contain live virus, he could not have been infected due to vaccination. It is possible for one to be infected just before or just after vaccination as it typically takes a few weeks for an individual to build up immunity after completing vaccination,” it added.

Overall, the number of new cases in the community has gone up slightly from three in the week before to four in the past week.

The number of cases with no known links in the community has also gone up from two in the week before to four in the past week.

Imported cases

There were 20 imported cases of Covid-19 yesterday and all had been placed on stay-home notices upon their arrival here.

They are:

  • Four Singaporeans and three permanent residents who returned from Canada, India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)
  • Two dependent’s pass holders who arrived from India and the UAE
  • Three work pass holders who came from India, Nepal and the Philippines
  • Seven work permit holders who arrived from India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar — five of whom are foreign domestic workers
  • One short-term visit pass holder who arrived from Malawi to visit her relative here

Update on remaining cases

The total number of infections in Singapore is now 59,721.

Of these, 59,484 people have fully recovered and been discharged, including 51 yesterday.

There are 44 patients in hospitals, including one who is in intensive care.

Another 164 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. — TODAY

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