Singapore reports 1st case of Covid-19 strain from UK

(Bernama) – Singapore yesterday reported one confirmed case with UK B117 virus strain involving a 17-year-old female Singaporean who was studying in the United Kingdom from August 2020, according to the republic’s Ministry of Health (MOH).

MOH said in light of recent reports that the B117 strain, a potentially more contagious variant of the Covid-19 virus, is circulating in the UK, the National Public Health Laboratory is performing viral genomic sequencing for confirmed Covid-19 cases who had arrived from Europe recently.

A total of 31 imported cases from Europe, who arrived in Singapore between Nov 17 and Dec 17, 2020, were confirmed to have Covid-19 infection in December 2020, it said in a statement issued here.

Amongst them, MOH said, 12 were not infected with the B117 strain, and one has been found to carry the B117 strain.

“Five samples cannot be sequenced due to their low viral load, and we are pending confirmatory results for another 11 cases who are preliminarily positive for the B117 strain. Two cases have not been tested so far,” it said.

The ministry noted that there was currently no evidence that the B117 strain is circulating in the community.

All the cases had been placed on 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN) at dedicated facilities or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, and their close contacts had been quarantined earlier, it said.

As a precautionary measure to reduce the risk of spread, Singapore announced yesterday that from Dec 23, 2359 hours, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history to the UK within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore.