SINGAPORE: Four community cases were among the 30 new COVID-19 infections reported in Singapore as of noon on Tuesday (Jan 19).
Two of the community infections are linked to a previous case, forming a new cluster.
The cluster involving the police para-vet, meanwhile, has grown to seven cases, after an eight-year-old boy tested positive for the coronavirus.
There were no cases reported in foreign workers' dormitories, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Twenty-six of the new cases are imported infections and were placed on stay-home notice upon arrival.
NEW COVID-19 CLUSTER
Two of the new community cases have been linked to Case 59343, a food processing worker at Golden Bridge Foods Manufacturing who tested positive last week.
The first of the two is a 31-year-old work permit holder who is a co-worker and housemate of Case 59343. Both are Chinese nationals.
The 31-year-old man had been identified as a close contact of Case 59343 and was placed on quarantine on Jan 15. He was tested on Jan 17 during quarantine even though he was asymptomatic, and his result came back positive for COVID-19 infection the next day.
He was then taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
His serological test result is negative, indicating that this is likely a current infection, said MOH.
The second case is 48-year-old work permit holder who is the wife of Case 59343.
The Chinese national is a food processing worker at Soon Lee Heng Satay Foodstuff Manufacturer, located at 15 Woodlands Loop.
She was placed on quarantine on Jan 15 and tested on Jan 17, even though she is asymptomatic.
Her infection was confirmed the next day.
Her serological test result is negative.
CLUSTER LINKED TO POLICE K-9 UNIT GROWS
The third community case is an 8-year-old Singaporean boy linked to the cluster involving the police K-9 unit para-veterinarian.
The boy is the son of Case 59365, a 44-year-old Singaporean man who works as an administrative officer at the same location as the para-vet, and Case 59393, a 43-year-old woman.
He is a student at Chua Chu Kang Primary School and had last gone to school on Jan 15. He was placed on quarantine on Jan 16.
"He was swabbed on the same day and his result came back negative for COVID-19," said MOH. "There is therefore no risk of transmission to the students he had contact with previously."
However, the boy developed a fever on Jan 17 while he was in quarantine, and was tested again at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. This test came back positive for COVID-19 infection.
His serological test result is negative.
This cluster now has a total of seven confirmed infections.
The fourth case is a 39-year-old permanent resident who works as a sales personnel at BS Industrial & Construction Supply, located at 34 Kallang Place.
He developed a fever on Jan 16 and sought treatment at a polyclinic on Jan 18, where he was tested for COVID-19 as part of MOH's enhanced community testing.
His test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection on the same day, and he was taken to NCID.
His serological test result has come back negative.
Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, said MOH, adding that all identified close contacts of the cases, including their family members, household members and co-workers, have been isolated and placed on quarantine. Serological and COVID-19 tests will also be conducted for them.
MOH added that the overall number of new cases in the community has increased from six cases in the week before to 14 cases in the past week.
The number of unlinked cases in the community has increased from four cases in the week before to five cases in the past week.
MOH also added several new places to its list of locations visited by cases in the community during their infectious period - Church of Singapore, Marina Square and Gain City Megastore @ Sungei Kadut.
4 CITIZENS AMONG IMPORTED CASES
Among the 26 imported COVID-19 infections, there are four Singaporeans and three permanent residents who returned from Indonesia, Ireland, Myanmar and UK.
Two are student's pass holders who arrived from Bulgaria and Malaysia.
One is a work pass holder who travelled from the UAE
The remaining 16 cases are work permit holders who arrived from Bangladesh, India and Indonesia, of whom three are foreign domestic workers.
Case 59415, a work permit holder, arrived from Bangladesh on Dec 28, 2020. He served his stay-home notice at a dedicated facility until Jan 11, 2021.
He tested negative thrice for COVID-19 - on Jan 8, Jan 12 and Jan 14. However, his test on Jan 17 positive for COVID-19 infection. The Ct value on the latest test was very high, which is indicative of a low viral load.
His serological test result has also come back positive.
"Given that these indicate likely past infection, we have classified the case as imported," said MOH.
"He is likely to be shedding minute fragments of the virus RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infective to others."
One of the imported Singaporean cases is a 28-year-old who had returned from Ireland on Jan 3.
She was placed on stay-home notice at a dedicated facility, and tested negative for COVID-19 on Jan 14. However, she developed a dry throat later that day, and cough on Jan 16, but did not report her symptoms.
After her stay-home notice ended on Jan 17, she sought medical treatment at the National University Hospital a day later and was tested for COVID-19. Her result came back positive on the same day.
Twenty-six more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore's total recoveries to 58,894.
There are 45 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and none is in the intensive care unit. Another 189 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.
As of Tuesday, Singapore has reported a total of 59,157 COVID-19 cases.
VIRUS STILL CIRCULATING SILENTLY WITHIN COMMUNITY: LAWRENCE WONG
Minister for Education Lawrence Wong said on Monday that authorities are seeing more new infected cases in the community in recent days.
"For the first time in several months we have a local cluster linked to a police para-vet. Unfortunately there were also several recent cases who did not seek medical treatment despite falling ill with flu-like symptoms," he said in a Facebook post.
Mr Wong, who also co-chairs the COVID-19 multi-ministry task force, said contact tracers are working hard to identify all the possible contacts, ring fence potential cases and prevent them from spreading further.
READ: More than 10,000 frontline maritime workers to be vaccinated by end-January: MPA
"We are also monitoring the situation carefully and considering if additional measures are necessary to ensure the infection remains under control," he said.
"Meanwhile please cooperate with all the safe management measures - wear your masks, see a doctor when sick, and do your part to reduce transmission risks. The virus is still circulating silently within our community and we cannot afford to let our guard down."
PILOT FOR REOPENING OF NIGHTCLUBS, KARAOKE OUTLETS DELAYED
Amid an increase in the number of community cases, a pilot programme for some nightclubs and karaoke outlets to reopen with COVID-19 safety measures in place has been deferred until further notice.
This is to prevent the risk of further community transmission and formation of clusters in high-risk settings such as nightclubs and karaoke outlets, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) said on Tuesday.
Such settings entail people coming into close contact for prolonged periods of time and in enclosed spaces, the ministries added.
The pilot for nightclubs and karaoke outlets was to have started this month. Authorities had chosen two nightclubs and 10 karaoke outlets to participate in the pilot, out of a total of eight nominations for nightclubs and 15 for karaoke outlets.
The ministries said it was uncertain when the pilot would be able to commence, given the "dynamic public health situation". Agencies will review the commencement of the pilots at a suitable juncture, they added.
COVID-19: Patients with mild symptoms may hesitate to see a doctor; experts urge public to be vigilant
SINGAPORE: Many who fall sick with milder respiratory symptoms may hesitate to see a doctor immediately because they are not sure if they are really ill, said doctors and experts.
“It's quite common for someone in the early phase of symptom onset to be unsure whether it’s the start of a cold or whether it’s just, say, a dry throat from being a bit dehydrated,” said vice-dean of research at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Associate Professor Alex Cook.
“What would trigger me to check it out would be if I had multiple symptoms, so it’s probably an infection and not fatigue or something, or if the symptom persisted longer than a day or two. In that case, it’s important to go get it checked out.”
This comes after it was revealed that several cases linked to the police para-veterinarian at the K-9 unit, or the Case 59280 cluster, had developed possible COVID-19 symptoms but had not sought medical treatment.
On Sunday (Jan 17), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that Case 59365, a 44-year-old male Singaporean, an administrative officer who works at the same location as the police para-vet developed a dry throat on Jan 7 but had not sought medical treatment.
A 44 year-old female Singaporean who is a family member of the administrative officer also developed a fever and chills on Jan 9, and subsequently loss of smell and taste on Jan 13, but had also not sought medical treatment.
Another two cases related to the cluster announced on Monday - the spouse and another family member of the administrative officer - had also developed symptoms, including a loss of taste, respiratory symptoms and diarrhoea, but did not seek medical treatment.
On Tuesday, MOH reported an 8-year-old male Singaporean - the child of the administrative officer and his spouse - tested positive for COVID-19, after developing a fever while in quarantine. The primary school student is the seventh person linked to the K-9 unit cluster.
"We strongly urge everyone to do their part to reduce the risk of transmission. Those who are unwell, including those showing early/mild symptoms, should be socially responsible and seek medical attention immediately," said MOH on Tuesday.
SOME PATIENTS STILL FEEL WELL
Doctors and experts reporters spoke to said that many patients with mild symptoms may not want to see a doctor just yet because they still feel well and do not want to be exposed to sick people at the clinic.
“It takes effort to make an appointment, travel there and wait. Another reason is lack of awareness, some may think that people with COVID-19 should have fever with cough at least,” said Dr Ling Li Min, an infectious diseases physician at the Rophi Clinic.
In general, patients with mild acute respiratory infection symptoms often do not visit the doctor immediately, said Dr John Cheng, head of primary care at Healthway Medical Group.
“Even in pre-pandemic times, many prefer to monitor their conditions at home first before heading to the clinic,” he said.
“Right now, there are various reasons as to why some patients may delay seeking medical help. Some reasons include the fear of taking a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test, the inconvenience posed by the five-day MC, or even simply to avoid going to the clinic for minor illnesses to reduce the risk of exposure.”
But there are also patients who visit clinics immediately when they feel ill as they would rather not risk developing a more severe infection or infect their loved ones, said Dr Cheng.
NUS's Assoc Prof Cook told reporters: “Outside of the pandemic, it’s not unusual to ‘tahan’ mild colds or flus, to use folk remedies or over-the-counter medication, and wait for it to resolve by itself, which most respiratory infections do.”
Making masks mandatory and symptom screening at companies reduces the risk from people who are asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic - exhibiting a few symptoms - but continue their day to day lives, he added.
“Obviously it’s better to reduce your activity if you know you have a symptom of cold or flu but haven’t yet gone to the doctor," said Assoc Prof Cook.
The symptoms may also be similar to regular allergies or other non-infectious causes of cough, sore throat or running nose, said president of the Asia Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infection Paul Tambyah.
"That is why it is best to go to the same GP or have a regular doc who will know if you are someone with a tendency for allergic rhinitis or some other cause for the symptoms."
Medical leave entitlements are also a worry for patients with mild symptoms, said Dr Lim Kim Show, a family physician at Life Family Clinic.
"Some of them would not want to get extended medical leave because that may actually affect the medical leave entitlement for the year,” he added.
Noting that for patients who present with mild acute respiratory infection symptoms and are asked to take the swab test, Dr Lim said doctors will issue medical leave of three to five days to ensure the patients get enough rest and to wait for the results of the swab test.
“So that three to five days of medical leave actually do affect the decision of some patients not to come forward at the first instinct of having any respiratory symptoms,” he added.
STAY VIGILANT AND SEE A DOCTOR
While many with mild symptoms might hesitate to visit a doctor, experts and doctors urged individuals to stay vigilant and go for a check-up if symptoms do arise.
“I’m quite sure that, right now, most people with mild cold or flu symptoms do not actually have COVID-19, but some other infection,” said Assoc Prof Cook.
“However, the risk is there, as in the police admin officer’s case, and while most mild COVID-19 infections will resolve on their own, there’s a real and substantial risk that it might spread to someone vulnerable who could be much more seriously ill.”
It can be "tricky" to decide when to see a doctor when the patient has non-specific symptoms, said Dr Tambyah.
For example, if the patient has any links to or is working in a high-risk profession in contact with travellers, they should take minor symptoms a bit more seriously and see their regular general practitioner who can make an assessment based on examination and the patient's history, he added.
"I think that the best approach is to rest for a day and if not better the following day, see a doctor. Of course, if one works for a company which requires an MC for even a day of rest, then there is no choice but to see the doctor on the first day and potentially get a swab and a three-day SHN (stay-home notice)."
“I would urge people even with mild symptoms to be tested straight away. We clearly have a problem and now is the time to stamp it out,” said Professor Dale Fisher, senior consultant at NUH and Chair of the WHO Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network.
If an individual tests positive, this gives contact tracers a chance to find any other cases, he said, adding that unlinked community cases are “very dangerous” and need to be found quickly.
“Of course most people aren’t very sick so it’s easy just to rest. But in the interests of not allowing COVID-19 to pick up again in Singapore, then being diagnosed is crucial,” said Prof Fisher.
“I know most of us would not like the isolation if found to be positive but it really is for the community good. I think it’s a critical point at the moment.”
Individuals should look out for symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, pains, loss of taste or smell, runny nose, said Dr Ling. They may also have nausea, vomiting or diarrhoea.
“The message is any acute respiratory symptom with or without fever, regardless of severity, (they should) see a doctor,” he added.
A loss of taste and smell are “characteristic symptoms” of COVID-19, since these do not usually occur with other viruses, said Assoc Prof Cook.
“But it’s important to remember you don’t have to have one of those hallmark symptoms for it to be COVID-19: The symptom profile overlaps a lot with that of influenza or common cold viruses, so the only way to be sure is through a test.”
SINGAPORE: The COVID-19 cluster linked to a police K-9 unit has grown to seven cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (Jan 19), after one more close contact tested positive.
MOH reported four new COVID-19 cases in the community on Tuesday, and one was linked to the K-9 unit cluster.
Case 59428 is an eight-year-old Singaporean student at Chua Chu Kang Primary School who had last gone to school on Jan 15.
He is the son of two previously confirmed cases, Cases 59365 and 59393, both linked to the K-9 unit cluster. He was placed on quarantine after being identified as a close contact of his father, who was confirmed to be infected on Jan 16.
The boy was swabbed on the same day, and tested negative for COVID-19, MOH said, adding that "there is therefore no risk of transmission to the students he had contact with previously".
However, he developed a fever on Jan 17 and was tested again at KK Women's and Children's Hospital.
The second test gave a positive result. His serological test came back negative, indicating a likely current infection.
FIRST REPORTED INFECTIONS
On Jan 14, a para-vet - Case 59280 - at the police K-9 unit was reported as the sole community case for that day.
According to MOH, the para-vet developed a fever on Jan 11 and visited a general practitioner clinic on the same day, when he was tested for COVID-19.
The 32-year-old Singaporean remained at home on medical leave until his result came back positive on Jan 13 and he was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). His serological test was negative, indicating it was likely a current infection, said MOH.
The para-vet's identified close contacts, including family members and co-workers, were isolated and placed on quarantine, with testing at the start and end of their quarantine periods to detect asymptomatic cases.
On Jan 15, the police said that three of its officers who were in close contact with the para-vet had been quarantined.
Twenty-five police dogs that had interacted with the para-vet two weeks before he showed symptoms also tested negative for COVID-19, the police said.
On Jan 16, MOH reported that the para-vet's wife tested positive for COVID-19. The 28-year-old, Case 59347, had been in quarantine since Jan 13.
She developed acute respiratory infection symptoms on Jan 14 and was tested for the coronavirus. Her result returned positive the next day, and she was also sent to NCID. Her serological test was negative.
The woman works as a prison staff officer with the Singapore Prison Service but does not interact with inmates, MOH said. She was mainly working from home during this period.
JAN 17: TWO MORE CASES LINKED, CLUSTER IDENTIFIED
On Jan 17, MOH reported that a 44-year-old Singaporean man who works as an administrative officer at the police's K-9 unit had COVID-19.
The administrative officer, Case 59365, developed a dry throat on Jan 7 - earlier than the para-vet's onset of symptoms - but had not sought medical treatment, MOH said.
The administrative officer was tested on Jan 15 as part of special testing operations at the para-vet's workplace. His result came back positive on Jan 16 and he was taken to NCID. His serological test was negative.
After the administrative officer was confirmed to have COVID-19, MOH on Jan 16 contacted one of his family members, a 44-year-old Singaporean woman, as part of contact tracing efforts.
The woman, Case 59387, is a homemaker, and was tested for COVID-19 on Jan 16 when she reported she had developed a fever and chills on Jan 9, as well as the loss of smell and taste on Jan 13. She had not sought medical treatment, MOH said.
Her test result came back positive on Jan 17, and she was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. Her serological test was negative.
JAN 18: CLUSTER GROWS TO 6 CASES
Two new community cases of COVID-19 were reported in Singapore on Jan 18, both of whom are family members of the administrative officer.
Case 59393 is the man's spouse, a 43-year-old Singaporean woman who is a homemaker, while the other is a 66-year-old Malaysian woman, Case 59395, who is a long-term visit pass holder. Both developed symptoms, including diarrhoea and loss of taste, but had not sought medical treatment.
They were identified as close contacts of the administrative officer and were contacted by MOH on Jan 16. They were tested for COVID-19 when they reported their symptoms and their test results came back positive the next day.
Both women were taken to hospitals in ambulances, with Case 59393 warded at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital and Case 59395 at Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
SINGAPORE - Singapore is preparing to take its vaccination programme into high gear as the pandemic continues to rage around the world, with plans for new centres and roving teams which could potentially deliver over 70,000 shots daily across the island.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) wants to appoint a vendor to set up 36 Covid-19 vaccination centres from February, according to tender documents seen by reporters.
These centres should be able to cater to at least 2,000 people a day.
The vendor will also set up 10 mobile teams to provide mass vaccinations for sites such as nursing homes.
The centres and the teams will be set up progressively and the number required is subject to change.
Vaccination sites could include vacant schools, community clubs and sports halls. The assigned vaccination centres will operate for up to 12 months.
With the nation aiming to complete all vaccinations this year (2021), appointed vendors will also have to make sure that vaccines are stored and handled properly, and that supply is sufficient.
This includes ensuring strict compliance with the cold chain management of the Covid-19 vaccines, which must be transported in a temperature-controlled environment every step of the way.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, for one, has to be stored at minus 70 deg C. It is the only one approved here to date.
Vendors must also coordinate the delivery of vaccines to ensure that there are sufficient stocks, on top of making sure that there are enough emergency supplies and equipment on standby in case of adverse allergic reactions.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines can be kept at normal refrigeration temperature for just five days, once they have been taken out of frozen storage.
The mobile vaccination teams will comprise a medical doctor, four nurses and three administration staff, and will operate from 8am to 6pm daily. The doctor must be prepared to respond to medical emergencies.
The vaccination centres should operate from 8am to 10pm daily, and only the National Appointment System should be used for appointments and the updating of vaccination records.
MOH said in its tender that the appointed vendor will form part of its panel of Covid-19 vaccination resources, and that other vendors or in-house resources may be sought to administer vaccines where appropriate.
The new tender comes as vaccinations are well under way in Singapore, with thousands of shots given at healthcare institutions such as hospitals and nursing homes, among other locations.
They will also be given at polyclinics and general practitioner clinics, and Senior Minister of State for Health Janil Puthucheary said on Monday that he had visited staff at Punggol Polyclinic, who walked him through the process of administering Covid-19 vaccinations.
Barring any unforeseen disruptions to shipments, the MOH said it is making provisions for all Singaporeans and long-term residents to be able to get vaccinated by the third quarter of this year.
More than 6,200 people here have received their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, and this figure is expected to rise substantially in the coming weeks, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force tackling Covid-19, said last week.
Some 37,000 front-line workers in the aviation and maritime sectors will be vaccinated within two months, starting from this week.
Two vaccination centres at Changi Airport Terminal 4 and Raffles City Convention Centre are already operational, while two more centres at the former Hong Kah Secondary School and Woodlands Galaxy Community Club will be ready to start operations this week.
MOH had said that more centres across the island are being planned and will be rolled out in tandem with the arrival of the vaccine shipments.
The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two injections, given 21 days apart. Singapore is expecting more vaccine deliveries in the next few months, including from American biotechnology firm Moderna and China's Sinovac.
The Sinovac vaccine has yet to be approved, while the Moderna vaccine, which has a similar efficacy rate as Pfizer's, is under review.
The tender closes on Thursday (Jan 21).
SINGAPORE - A woman who allegedly provided illegal transfers involving money from victims of online scams was hauled to court on Tuesday (Jan 19).
Maslenie Mohamed Ramli, 38, was slapped with two charges under the Moneylenders Act and one charge under the Payment Services Act.
According to court documents for the charge under the Payment Services Act, she allegedly provided domestic money transfer services and received $4,855 across 13 transactions to her POSB account in May last year for the purpose of carrying out transactions to a local bank account.
She did not have a valid licence to do so and was not an exempt payment provider.
The police said she claimed to have responded to a job advertisement online and was employed as an account personnel to perform the bank transfers.
Maslenie was allegedly promised a daily commission for assisting in providing payment services using her bank account.
The funds, however, were found to be proceeds of crime from victims of online scams.
The two charges under the Moneylenders Act pertain to her allegedly assisting an unlicensed moneylender by providing her ATM cards to him in 2018.
She told the court on Tuesday that she is disputing the charge under the Payment Services Act and would like to apply for legal aid.
District Judge Terence Tay said she is to complete her legal aid application within the next three weeks.
Maslenie is currently out on $10,000 bail. She is expected to be back in court on Feb 18.
In a release on Monday, the police cautioned job seekers to be wary of advertisements promising the convenience of working from home and being paid unreasonably high salaries for relatively easy job responsibilities.
"Legitimate businesses will not require the job seekers to utilise their own bank accounts to receive monies on the businesses' behalf," it said.
"These acts are common ruse used by scammers to have individuals carry out illicit payment transfers on their behalf."
Members of the public are advised to always reject requests by others to use their bank accounts.
If convicted of carrying on a business providing payment services without a licence, a person may be fined up to $125,000, jailed for up to three years, or both.
SINGAPORE: Over the past few months, residents at a Housing Board block in Punggol Sapphire estate have grappled with high-rise litter in the form of used sanitary pads – strewn across the ground floor or even stuck to their window ledges.
Residents at Block 268C Punggol Field told reporters that the problem surfaced around the COVID-19 "circuit breaker" period last year, when they began finding stained sanitary pads at the first floor of the housing block.
“When walking back from the multi-storey car park, I was so shocked to see this thing lying on the grass patch and drain covers,” said Ms Sue. The residents reporters spoke to did not want to reveal their full names as that would make known their address.
“Then when I was working from home, I was putting up some blinds and I saw some (of the pads) stuck on other neighbours’ window ledges … I was very shocked,” she said.
Another resident, Ms Fara, also complained about the pads, saying: “It’s not just clear discharge, it’s red … I’ve got kids who ask me ‘Mum what’s that’?”
“Why do you throw it out in the first place? … Come on, whether or not it's COVID, it’s hygiene,” she added.
Ms Sue said she first reported the incident via the OneService app for municipal issues in May last year. She also complained about the stained, unrolled pads in the estate’s Facebook group.
The littering then stopped, only to return again a few weeks later in July. This time, the discarded pads were found rolled up, she told reporters.
After another report that prompted authorities to deploy temporary surveillance cameras in the area, residents said the area remained clear for a while.
But the culprit returned to the habit in November and December. Two residents added that they have seen such litter as recently as earlier this month.
Ms Sue made a third report via the OneService app against the sanitary pad litterbug in November.
In a response seen by reporters, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said via the app that it is aware of the issue and had carried out several inspections, as well as issued advisories to those in the housing column.
In the message, NEA said it is studying the feasibility of deploying "discreet" surveillance cameras in the area, adding that it would keep monitoring the issue and would not hesitate to take enforcement action.
At least two other households in the 16-storey block have made multiple reports about the high-rise litter as well, according to residents reporters spoke to.
“But when we complain, NEA will put up cameras but the litterbug will just throw somewhere else,” said another couple, the Laus, who live in the block.
"It's really quite disturbing," they added.
HIGH-RISE LITTER A “DAILY OCCURRENCE”: RESIDENTS
While the sanitary pad litterbug strikes from time to time, residents lament that other forms of high-rise littering continue almost every day.
“Instead of pads, (there will be) instant noodles, tissue paper. I remember there was an occasion, the whole microwave oven came down. There was a loud bang,” said Mr Seah, a resident in his late 30s.
During a visit to the block on Thursday (Jan 14), reporters witnessed wet wads of tissue hitting the ground near the lift lobby three times within an hour. Used masks had also fallen to the ground in that time.
On top of that, Ms Lau added that she has seen birds feeding on litter such as cup noodles or food from McDonald's.
“It’s quite sad for the auntie who cleans in the morning,” she said.
Mr Seah added: “I pity the cleaners. (One of them) has to clean it every day with an umbrella, that’s the part where I feel it’s very unfair for them.”
An elderly resident who lives on a lower floor, Madam Lim, said she no longer dares to hang her clothes on the racks outside her window because her clean laundry has been soiled by discarded tissues before.
Reporters has contacted NEA and the estate’s town council for comment.
Qi Lai Feng fish dishes are very diverse, from dry pot to soup pot. They are well-known for their fish pot. The fish pot is different from ordinary fish dishes. The taste is fresh and yummy, and the fish is crispy. The tender and delicious fish is matched with various side dishes.
Customers can choose their favorite fish to cook the fish stew, but the most worth trying at Qi Lai Feng is their crispy fish meat, also known as crispy fish or Q fish. The fish is fed with broad beans. After eating broad beans, the meat quality of the fish will change and the meat will become crispy. Crispy fish meat has high nutritional value, refreshing and unique taste. The fish hotpot comes with a variety of side dishes and tastes according to customers' preferences.
Good news for Qi Lai Feng fans staying at the East area. They are opening their flagship restaurant at Geylang this January 2021, and they are looking forward to see you guys at and keep a lookout for their new Chinese New Year Reunion Lunch and Dinner Menu.
Qi Lai Feng 齊來豐魚莊:
198 Geylang Road, Singapore 389263
11.00am - 1.00am (Sunday to Thursday)
11.00am to 3.00am (Friday, Saturday and Eve of Public Holiday )
SINGAPORE - A new multi-virus test kit that is able to detect both Covid-19 and the seasonal flu has obtained provisional authorisation from Singapore's Health Sciences Authority.
The Fortitude SARS-CoV-2 & Flu A/B test kit was jointly developed by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) and local molecular diagnostic company MiRXES.
Building on the existing Fortitude Kit which tests only for Covid-19, this new kit has additional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) primers - short genetic sequences - designed to detect influenza A and B.
The test uses PCR to look for the viruses that cause Covid-19 or the flu and will give two readouts, showing if the patient has either.
Since February last year, more than five million Fortitude Kit tests have been sold both locally and globally. The kits have been deployed in 13 local hospitals and labs and exported to more than 40 countries worldwide, including the United States.
Sales of the new kit have just been launched, after it obtained the regulatory approval on Jan 8.
Patients with Covid-19 or flu exhibit a set of similar symptoms, making it difficult for healthcare professionals to differentiate between the two. This new kit will allow for amore accurate and timely diagnosis.
MiRXES has also obtained the Conformite Europeenne mark approval, a European certification, for the new kit.
The company is applying for emergency use authorisation from the US Food and Drug Administration, and for approval from Japan's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency.
Dr Lihan Zhou, co-founder and chief executive officer of MiRXES, said: "Following the deployment of the MiRXES Fortitude Kit worldwide, we continue to monitor and identify global needs in infectious disease testing."
He added: "We are working in close collaboration with key partners such as A*Star and TTSH to meet these needs by expanding our Fortitude Covid-19 test range. Hospitals and labs in US, Europe, and Japan have already expressed interest in deploying the Fortitude SARS-CoV-2 & Flu A/B test kit."
SINGAPORE - The move to get people in Singapore vaccinated for Covid-19 has received reassurances from OCBC Bank and insurance company Great Eastern, which separately announced programmes to support those receiving the shots.
Great Eastern announced a $1 million vaccine fund for its customers last Friday (Jan 15).
Those who get the shots will receive a daily hospital benefit of $300 for up to seven days, if they are hospitalised because of the vaccine within three months from the day of the first dose.
Meanwhile, OCBC Bank said on Monday that its staff in Singapore will have their medical consultation fees reimbursed if they develop side effects from the vaccine. In addition, bank employees will get a day off on the day they receive the jab.
Employees will also be allowed to work from home for one week after vaccination.
They will receive private taxi reimbursement to and from the vaccination clinics and an additional two days of medical leave without the need to provide a medical certificate in the event of side effects.
Similar initiatives will be rolled out for employees in the bank's core markets such as Malaysia and China when the vaccine is available in those countries, said OCBC in a statement.
The bank added that it will educate its 10,000 workers in Singapore about the Covid-19 vaccine.
This began last Friday with a webinar featuring Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist from Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital.
Registration was fully subscribed within half a day, prompting the bank to double the number of places to 1,000 employees.
The most common questions asked - whether those with pre-existing medical conditions could take the vaccine; potential side effects it might have; what to avoid after vaccination; and if it was safe to take more than one set of vaccines from different manufacturers.
More webinars with medical experts are in the pipeline, said the bank.
These will explain the side effects of the vaccine and its impact on safe-distancing measures. They will also answer any concerns to allow employees to make a informed decision on whether to be vaccinated.
"While the decision for taking a Covid-19 vaccination is very personal, we want to help our employees come to a decision based on sound medical advice," said Mr Jason Ho, OCBC Bank's head of group human resources.
The bank's Covid-19 Vaccination Support Programme is an extension of its Covid-19 Care Package launched last March to look after its employees and family during the global pandemic.
SINGAPORE - Covid-19 has laid bare the fact that the world today is increasingly connected, and that no country can address long-term problems on its own, said Senior Minister of State for Defence Zaqy Mohamad on Monday (Jan 18).
Despite the increasing pushback against multilateralism, there is a need for countries to avoid focusing on just their domestic challenges, and to instead work together so that they can effectively tackle common threats, added Mr Zaqy.
Using the current pandemic to illustrate his point, he said: "The global community will not fully recover from this pandemic without coordinated responses to curb its spread, keep critical supply chains open and rebuild economies.
"Protectionist and unilateral actions are, ultimately, short-term solutions that would not be able to address long-term problems."
He was giving the keynote address at a forum organised by the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The 9th IISS Fullerton Forum: The Shangri-La Dialogue Sherpa Meeting is being held over two days from Monday at the Fullerton Hotel.
In his speech, Mr Zaqy acknowledged that it is not surprising that many countries have turned inwards and focused on their domestic needs in the face of an unprecedented health crisis like Covid-19, noting that some had closed their borders and built up "protectionist barriers".
He also pointed out that even before the pandemic, there was already increasing pushback against multilateralism.
"In many societies, a growing number of people saw the multilateral system as the key driver behind the erosion of national sovereignty, economic dislocation and widening income gap. Others viewed the system and its accompanying institutions and rules as rigid, archaic and restrictive," he added.
However, the Covid-19 outbreak has demonstrated the importance of cooperation between countries.
Mr Zaqy sketched out three ways in which multilateralism has helped stave off the worst possible effects of the coronavirus.
The first is in the area of technology and science. Mr Zaqy noted that countries have leveraged technology to interact and share best practices, ranging from operational experiences to technical and medical aspects of dealing with the virus.
The second is in testing. The sharing of genetic data of Covid-19 has allowed for the fast development of diagnostic tests, said Mr Zaqy, adding that this was crucial in the early stage of the pandemic when countries were ramping up their domestic testing capabilities to detect positive cases.
And third is in the development and distribution of vaccines.
Mr Zaqy held up the multilateral Covax facility initiative, which is meant to ensure equitable vaccine access worldwide and aims to obtain and fairly distribute two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of this year.
Amid the pandemic, issues that threaten the security of countries, such as the danger of cyber attacks and terrorism, still present a challenge for countries, said Mr Zaqy.
To address these security threats, he suggested countries find ways to exchange best practices in areas of common interests and make arrangements to interact, train and cooperate together to foster trust and operational effectiveness.
He noted that even with the challenges of Covid-19, navies from 10 countries were able to safely conduct the last iteration of the Rim of Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise. Hosted by the United States, the biennial exercise, held in Hawaii in August last year, is the world's largest international maritime exercise.
Mr Zaqy urged countries to support efforts to strengthen the international order and enhance practical cooperation, which he said is especially important to address emerging areas like artificial intelligence.
By working together beyond national borders, governments and defence establishments can benefit their people and protect them against security threats, said Mr Zaqy.
He added: "We should continue to guard against tendencies to focus on domestic challenges to the detriment of more coordinated global responses, which remain vital to effectively tackle common security threats."
The annual IISS Fullerton Forum, which is attended by delegates from around the world, is a platform for sharing views ahead of the annual Shangri-La Dialogue, which will be held later this year.
The forum this year is being held in a hybrid format, with delegates attending here as well as virtually.
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