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By Massita Ahmad
SINGAPORE, April 22 -- Singapore Ministry of Health (MOH) today said 17 workers who have recovered from COVID-19 infection at Westlite Woodlands Dormitory here were found to be positive again.
In a statement, MOH said this was following special operations commenced by the ministry and the Ministry of Manpower to test residents of the dormitory.
The cases were related to a 35-year-old male Bangladesh national residing at the dormitory, who was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on April 19.
Labelled as Case 62181, he works at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard and is employed by Prosper Environmental & Engineering Pte Ltd as a construction supervisor.
The ministry said these cases were immediately isolated and conveyed to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
MOH said, together with an expert panel which comprises infectious diseases and microbiology experts, it is investigating if they are re-infection cases.
As at noon yesterday, the ministry has classified 54,513 of the reported cases as dormitory residents, 4,025 as imported, and 2,342 as community cases.
**At a Multi Taskforce for COVID-19 virtual press conference today, MOH's director of medical services Associate Professor Kenneth Mak said Singapore have done its own studies related to the antibody levels of recovered cases.
The studies, Mak said, were looking at recovered cases in the community and workers in dormitories.
"We demonstrated that in both groups retained the antibody response for sequencing of time well above 300 days. However, over time, 40 responses came down and it is theoretically possible for a recovered person to get reinfected subsequently.
"And this is the reason why we want to be vigilant particularly now when a number of our own recovered workers are starting to reach that milestone where they are above 300 days and it is now prudent for us to start monitoring very closely for the risk of reinfection taking place," he said.
Mak noted that this would also be the basis for enhance posture for testing not just among workers, but also for travellers coming to Singapore.
"We will continue to be vigilant to look out for reinfected cases as they arise," he said.