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First case of likely reinfection of COVID-19 in Singapore

The Singapore Ministry of Health has announced that it had detected the first likely case COVID-19 re-infection in Singapore.

A Bangladeshi 28 year-old male with a work permit residing in a Dormitory at 43 Tech Park Crescent. He had to undergo routine rostered monitoring as part of MOH's and MOM's surveillance of recovered workers to monitor their post-infection immunity and was identified from it.

The Bangladeshi worker was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on 12 April last year. He then recovered, and consistently tested negative from June 2020 onwards.

However, during the routine test on 25 January 2021, his test result came back positive for COVID-19 infection, and he was isolated. After which numerous repeat tests conducted subsequently were also positive for the virus.

The Bangladeshi worker reported that he felt unwell on 22 and 23 January, but is otherwise asymptomatic. He is currently warded at NCID. All his identified close contacts have been isolated and placed on quarantine, and have so far all tested negative for the coronavirus.

While re-infection is rare, it has been assessed that the clinical and laboratory evidence suggests this is a likely case of re-infection.

“In addition to his positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test results, there was a corresponding marked increase in antibody titres compared to the period prior to the likely re-infection, suggesting that he was exposed to a new infection which boosted his antibody levels,” said MOH.

The virus detected in his samples taken in January 2021 is also genetically distinct from that associated with the dormitories outbreak in 2020, suggesting that this is likely a different and new infection.

The Singapore Ministry of Health said that it will continue to closely monitor recovered COVID-19 cases to determine their post-infection immunity. So far, there is no indication that recovered workers in the dormitories have significant loss of post-infection immunity.

We would encourage companies and employers to continue their Safe Management Measures. Do send your staff for Safe Management Office course for them to understand and implement Safe Management Measures in your organisation.

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