3 employees of Mandarin Orchard found to have been previously infected, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

3 employees of Mandarin Orchard found to have been previously infected

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Another 3 serving SHNs at Mandarin Orchard test positive for Covid-19, but likely unlinked to previous 13 cases

Three employees of the Mandarin Orchard Singapore hotel were likely to have been previously infected with the coronavirus, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday.

Covid-19 tests were conducted on the hotel's staff as a precautionary measure, as 13 travellers who stayed there were suspected to have been infected.

Epidemiological investigations of these cases are in progress.

Another three people serving their stay-home notice (SHN) at the Mandarin Orchard have now tested positive for Covid-19. But it is likely these are imported cases and not linked to the 13.

The probe into the 13 cases was launched as it was found that they had been infected by coronavirus strains with "high genetic similarity", implying the infections may have come from the same source, MOH announced on Saturday.

The 13 had flown in from across 10 countries, but all stayed in the same tower of Mandarin Orchard between Oct 22 and Nov 11.

In a press release yesterday, MOH said 394 people serving SHN at the hotel have been swabbed, and 384 test results are ready, while 10 are pending. Of these results, 381 have come back negative for Covid-19.

The guests were tested following news of the possible transmission chain at the hotel. The test is usually done towards the end of the SHN.

While the three new cases announced yesterday are likely to be imported, the National Public Health Laboratory will conduct whole genome sequencing and phylogenetic analysis to determine if they could be linked to the 13 cases under investigation, MOH said.

So far, polymerase chain reaction tests for 158 employees of Mandarin Orchard Singapore have come back negative for Covid-19. About 500 hotel staff will be tested.

The hotel has stopped accepting new guests since Saturday and is checking out existing guests progressively, MOH said.

Guests serving SHNs at the hotel have been taken in dedicated vehicles to alternative SHN facilities.

ST understands some SHN guests were transferred to Swissotel The Stamford.

A 64-year-old Briton and his Singaporean wife, 59, are among the 13 cases being investigated. They returned to Singapore to visit his wife's family, arriving on Oct 26.

After his wife tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov 6, he was transferred to another hotel, and he too tested positive, on Nov 8, after developing symptoms.

The couple were discharged from a community care facility late last month upon recovery and are still in Singapore.