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School bus driver, 2 toddlers among 9 new Covid-19 cases in Bukit Merah View cluster, now the largest active one

SINGAPORE – A 64-year-old Singaporean man who works as a bus driver for Tanglin Trust School was one of nine new cases linked to the cluster at 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Food Centre on Friday (June 18).

This cluster is now the largest open one to date with 65 cases, exceeding that of the Jem and Westgate cluster, which has 63 cases. 

The previous largest cluster, which originated in Changi Airport Terminal 3 and had 108 cases, has been closed as no cases have been linked to the cluster for 28 days, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

MOH said in its daily update on Friday night that the fully vaccinated bus driver, who is employed by KAL Transport, lives in the Bukit Merah area and frequently visited the food establishments in the area.

He developed a fever, cough and fatigue on Wednesday night and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner the next day. There, he underwent both an antigen rapid test (ART) and a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. He was immediately isolated when his ART result came back positive. His PCR test result came back positive the same day.

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The eight other cases linked to the Bukit Merah cluster include four who were diagnosed while serving quarantine. 

They include a five-year-old boy and a four-year-old girl, both of whom are pupils at PCF Sparkletots at 78A Telok Blangah Street 32. The children had last gone to school on May 21, said MOH.

Both are family members of earlier reported Covid-19 cases and tested positive for coronavirus infection while in quarantine. 

The other four cases linked to the Bukit Merah cluster were detected through surveillance. 

One of them was a 42-year-old female Myanmar national, a foreign domestic worker who had visited the market and food centre. 

MOH said she developed a cough, runny nose, sore throat and headache on Wednesday and sought medical treatment the next day. 

She was immediately isolated when her ART result came back positive for Covid-19. Her PCR test result confirmed the Covid-19 infection on Friday. 

Other than the nine linked to the Bukit Merah cluster, another linked case of locally transmitted Covid-19 is a Singaporean woman, 59.

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She is linked to two earlier reported cases of Covid-19 – a 68-year-old male Singaporean who works as a landscape gardener at Amozonia and a retired Singaporean man, 66. 

Of Friday’s 14 new local cases, four were unlinked, MOH said. 

They include a fully vaccinated Chinese national, 69, who is a resident at NTUC Health Senior Group Home in Bukit Merah View. 

He was tested for Covid-19 on Wednesday as part of the home’s surveillance testing for residents, and his pooled test result came back positive on Thursday. 

An individual test was administered, and he developed a runny nose on Thursday, MOH said. His individual test result later came back positive for Covid-19 infection that same day.

There were two imported cases confirmed on Friday as well, for a total of 16 new cases. These took Singapore’s total to 62,382.

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Both imported cases are returning Singaporeans or permanent residents. They had already been placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore.

There were 104 community cases in the past week, up from 36 in the week before. The number of unlinked cases has also risen to 19 in the past week, compared with nine cases in the week before.

There are currently 39 active clusters of infection, down from 41 on Thursday.

There are currently 152 confirmed cases who are still in hospital. Of these, most are stable or improving, and one is in critical condition in the intensive care unit. 

Another 209 are isolated and cared for at community facilities. These are patients who have mild symptoms, or are clinically well but still test positive for the virus.

Singapore has had 34 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

This article was first published in The Straits TimesPermission required for reproduction.

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