MOH Investigating if There Could Be 1 More COVID-19 Case in Mandarin Orchard Incident


A year ago, when you see the words “Mandarin Orchard Hotel” on your phone, you’d wonder which of your wealthy friends is getting married. Now, you’d think of COVID-19, SHN and the number 13.

Or maybe, the number 14.

MOH Investigating if There Could Be 1 More COVID-19 Case in Mandarin Orchard Incident

Yesterday, MOH reported 14 new cases that are all imported.

Like any imported cases, they don’t raise anyone’s eyebrows as all of them have been on SHN.

Except that one of them used to stay in Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

According to MOH, the Singapore PR arrived from the Philippines on 10 December, and served SHN at Mandarin Orchard Singapore.

He was moved to another dedicated facility on 20 December when MOH commenced investigations into the 13 previously reported cases who had served SHN at Mandarin Orchard Singapore between 22 October and 11 November 2020.

He was swabbed on 19 December and 21 December and his test results came back negative for COVID-19 infection.

As a precautionary measure, he was swabbed again on completion of SHN on 24 December, and went home following the test.

His test result came back positive that night and he was conveyed to the hospital the next day. Investigations are ongoing to assess if he could be linked to the 13 cases.

His serological test result is pending.

What Happened

Previously, 13 Covid-19 cases were detected among foreign guests serving their Stay-Home-Notice (SHN) at Mandarin Orchard Hotel.

Apparently, when the National Public Health Laboratory conducted tests on the samples, it was found that despite the 13 cases coming from different countries, their infections were, genetically-wise, highly similar.

This led experts to speculate that the guests might’ve gotten infected, not from their home countries, but at the hotel instead.

As a precaution, Mandarin Orchard Singapore stopped accepting guests immediately and progressively checked out existing guests within the hotel.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) also began investigations into the 13 cases.


Minister: No Breach Found in Mandarin Orchard Hotel So Far

On 22 Dec 2020, Minister Lawrence Wong announced at a press conference that no breach was discovered at Mandarin Orchard Hotel so far.

As of 21 Dec, 11 staff members tested positive for serological tests, indicating that they might’ve been infected with Covid-19 in the past.

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for all 571 hotel staff returned negative, meaning there’s no existing Covid-19 transmission among the staff.

PCR tests were also conducted for the 394 guests serving SHN at the hotel. 3 of them came back positive and they were brought to the hospital immediately.

Pointing out that Singapore has had “many months of experience” with SHN, hotel operators in Singapore “take it upon themselves” to ensure that all protocols, security and everything else is adhered to.


Nonetheless, investigations into the hotel will continue.

“In this case, we did not detect a breach yet. But somehow, something… happened. We don’t quite know what is it.”

Previously, experts have said that if SHN guests had not interacted with each other, hotel staff or fomites (objects likely to carry infection such as towels or bedsheets) may have formed the transmission chain.

A Reminder

This incident, Minister Wong says, is also a reminder that the virus can easily spread.

And this is why, he added, people need to keep their guard up, stay vigilant and take Covid-19 seriously.

As for concerns about hotels with SHN guests still allowed to host local guests for staycations, Minister Wong said that in Mandarin Orchard’s case, the operations for locals and foreign guests are kept separated.

Other than the residences, which are located in separate wings of the hotel, the SHN wing is also separated from public areas within the hotel that is open to local guests.


Meanwhile, guests who have stayed at Mandarin Orchard Singapore between 11 November and 19 December are advised to monitor their health closely for 14 days from their last date of stay, as the hotel is one of the approved hotels for staycations.

They should see a doctor promptly if they develop symptoms of acute respiratory infection (such as cough, sore throat and runny nose), as well as fever and loss of taste or smell, and inform the doctor of their exposure history.

The hotel has stopped taking in persons on SHN from 13 December as its contract to serve as a dedicated SHN facility will expire at the end of the month.

Featured Image: sirastock /