NSman with COVID-19 was asymptomatic at Nee Soon camp; all close contacts tested negative: MINDEF


SINGAPORE: The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) (NSman) national serviceman who was among the country’s four new community-based COVID-19 cases on Saturday April 17 was asymptomatic when he presented for camp training (TIC) at Nee Soon camp.

“The soldier was well and asymptomatic when he presented himself to the TIC at the camp of Nee Soon”, declared the Ministry of Defense (MINDEF).

“SAF has been in contact with him and his family to provide support and assistance.”

The NSman is a 35-year-old Singaporean who works as a freelance photographer, the Department of Health (MOH) said in its daily update on coronavirus cases.

His infection, which is currently unrelated, was detected when he was tested on April 15 as part of the SAF protocol to collect NSmen at the start of their camp training.

According to the MOH, his pooled COVID-19 test that day was positive. An individual swab a day later, April 16, also gave a positive result.

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He was taken to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in an ambulance and developed a fever the same day, the Department of Health said.

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Another test by the National Public Health Laboratory returned negative on April 16, but a subsequent test on April 17 was positive again.

“His serological result came back positive, which indicates a past infection,” said the Ministry of Health.

The ministry added that it could “shed minute fragments of the virus’s RNA, which are no longer transmissible and infectious to others.”

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All staff who were identified as close contacts of the positive case during training at the camp have been swabbed, MINDEF said, adding that none have tested positive to date.

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Close contacts have been placed in quarantine.

“They will be monitored and retested to confirm their negative status before being released from quarantine,” MINDEF said.

The ministry added that as part of precautionary measures, the SAF proceeded to disinfect the premises in which the soldier was.

National Service camp training and individual physical proficiency testing resumed from October 2020, with safe management and detection measures for COVID-19 in place.

These include swab tests for those returning for camp training.

MINDEF and SAF have also implemented additional measures, such as temperature checks for all visitors and contractors entering camps and military bases.

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Besides the 35-year-old NSman, other new community infections include two people linked to the NUS lead researcher who was reported as a local case on Friday.

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This formed a new group of three cases.

The health ministry urged people to continue to exercise social responsibility and be disciplined according to safe management measures, even for those who have been vaccinated.

“The recent locally transmitted cases are a stark reminder that the virus has not been eradicated and that new cases and clusters can easily appear in our community, if we let our guard down,” the ministry said.

“Together, we must work to avoid an uncontrolled resurgence of cases that may require tightened measures.”

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