Toddler becomes Singapore's first Covid-19 death under age 12

SINGAPORE – A 1½-year-old boy who came down with Covid-19 has died, said the Ministry of Health.

In a statement on Monday night (June 27), MOH said the child died of encephalitis – or inflammation of the brain – due to Covid-19 and two other viruses.

The two viruses are the respiratory syncytial virus and the enterovirus.

This is Singapore’s first death caused by Covid-19 in a patient below 12, MOH said.

It added that the boy had no other past medical history and was previously well.

He was taken to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital’s (KKH) Children’s Emergency Department on the night of June 21 with a high fever and recurrent seizures, and subsequently began to lose consciousness.

He was then admitted to the Children’s Intensive Care Unit in critical condition on June 22, and was diagnosed with severe meningoencephalitis.

This refers to the inflammation of the brain and the meninges, which are membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.

The boy’s polymerase chain reaction test came back positive for Covid-19, as well as the rhinovirus/enterovirus and the respiratory syncytial virus.

In its statement, MOH said Covid-19 can result in severe disease, even in children and those without pre-existing medical conditions.


“Vaccination substantially reduces the likelihood of severe disease when one is infected,” it said.

The ministry added that it recommends that all children aged five to 11 years get the Pfizer-BioNTech/Comirnaty vaccine, especially those with underlying chronic medical conditions.

MOH said that together with the Health Sciences Authority and the Expert Committee on Covid-19 Vaccination, it will study the safety and effectiveness of Covid-19 vaccines that have been formulated for young children under the age of five, once manufacturers submit relevant documents.

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“MOH extends our deepest condolences to the patient’s family,” said the ministry, adding that KKH is in contact with the family to support them where necessary.

This is the first death from Covid-19 in Singapore in five days. The latest death takes Singapore’s total number of Covid-19 fatalities to 1,409.

On Monday, Singapore reported 5,309 new coronavirus cases, up from 5,116 the day before.

The week-on-week infection ratio also grew to 1.56, up from 1.52 the day before.

The rate refers to the ratio of community cases for the past week over that of the week before. A rate of more than 1 shows that the number of new weekly Covid-19 cases is increasing.

The MOH report also said 420 Covid-19 patients were in hospital, with 26 requiring oxygen supplementation and nine in the intensive care unit.

Singapore has so far recorded a total of 1,413,667 Covid-19 cases.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.