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Covid-19: Connection between Singapore church clusters found

ANI | Updated: Feb 26, 2020 16:35 IST

Singapore, Feb 26 (ANI): The Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore has reiterated that people, who are not well, should stay at home, and not engage in social interactions, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. This is what the MOH had been saying earlier, and it was strengthened by the search for the missing link between the COVID-19 clusters at The Life Church and Missions church and Grace Assembly of God church.
The missing link is a married couple who went to a Chinese New Year gathering at Mei Hwan Drive. The couple, cases 83 and 91, went to the gathering on Jan 25. Case 91 was the only new case reported in Singapore on Tuesday according to CNA.
The health ministry determined on Tuesday that case 66 - a 28-year-old Singaporean man who works at the Grace Assembly of God and lives at Mei Hwan Drive - was the primary case of the church cluster. "To determine how case 66 had been infected, we investigated the locations he had visited and people he had close contact with, " said MOH in a press release.
He had gone to work at the church while symptomatic and on Jan 29, became the first to report symptoms in the cluster.
Sixteen cases in the church were subsequently infected with COVID-19, said MOH adding that some of these cases had been exposed to case 66.
MOH said in a press release, "To determine how case 66 had been infected, we investigated the locations he had visited and people he had close contact with." He attended the Chinese New Year gathering at Mei Hwan Drive on Jan 25 with the married couple, cases 83 and 91.
The married couple had earlier visited The Life Church and Missions on Jan 19, the same day as cases 8 and 9, investigations showed. Cases 8 and 9 are Chinese nationals from Wuhan who tested positive for COVID-19 in late January.
Both Cases 83 and 91 had been well at the time of investigations.
However, records showed that case 91 had gone to SengKang General Hospital a day after her Chinese New Year gathering with symptoms consistent with COVID-19. Case 83 had also been unwell in end-January and had repeatedly sought treatment at a general practitioner (GP) clinic.
Based on these records, the MOH said: "This meant that cases 83 and 91 likely got infected from case 8 and 9, and went on to pass the infection to case 66 at the Chinese New Year gathering."
Case 91 recovered sometime between Jan 26 and Feb 18, without having been hospitalised for COVID-19, reported CNA.
The MOH epidemiology team arranged for cases 83 and 91 to be tested at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases with the use of new serological tests developed by the Duke-NUS team.
Serological tests are tests for the antibodies in a person's body.
"The test results confirmed they had earlier been infected with COVID-19," MOH said.
The link was established with the help of the Singapore Police Force.
MOH's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said that the Chinese New Year gathering was an important event where someone was infected, unwell but then continuing to engage in social activities and therefore causing the spread of the coronavirus.
"This, in fact, emphasises the reason why we have been advising that if you are not well, you should stay at home, you should not engage in social interactions, going out, because that risk of spread remains," Kenneth further added.
COVID-19 has been spread to more than 30 countries and territories, including in Singapore, Japan, South Korea and Thailand. (ANI)

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