SINGAPORE: Singapore has three new cases of COVID-19, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH) Kenneth Mak said at a media conference on Wednesday (Feb 12).
Of them, two are from the Grace Assembly of God church, and one of them works at DBS bank at the Marina Bay Financial Centre. All three of them are Singaporean and have no recent travel history to mainland China.
The two patients linked to the church are two male employees aged 34 and 46 who visited both Grace Assembly of God churches at Tanglin and Bukit Batok, MOH said. The church said on its Facebook page that it will stop all church services and activities for two weeks.
The DBS employee is 62 years old.
This brings the number of confirmed cases of the virus in Singapore to 50.
As of Wednesday, six more people were discharged from hospital, bringing the total number of patients who have recovered to 15. The newly discharged patients are cases 4, 12, 25, 29, 34 and 40, all of whom are adults.
They are a 36-year-old man and 37-year-old woman from Wuhan who stayed at Village Hotel Sentosa, the husband of a tour guide linked a cluster of infections, a 41-year-old Singaporean who was the first one reported not to have any known links to previous cases, and two Yong Thai Hang employees.
Of the 35 confirmed cases still in hospital, eight are in the Intensive Care Unit and in critical condition.
Assoc Prof Mak said that a six-month-old, who is among the confirmed cases, is doing well.
On the sidelines of the media conference, he said that there has yet to be a pattern established among those who are in intensive care.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong cautioned that while there are patients who are stable and recovering from the viral infection, there could be patients who may succumb to it.
“We have to be prepared for the worst,” he said.
As of noon on Wednesday, 638 suspect cases had tested negative. Test results for 125 cases are pending, MOH said. It added that as of the same time, it has identified 1,090 close contacts of the confirmed cases, of whom 984 are in Singapore.
Of them, 961 have been contacted and are being isolated or quarantined. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 23 contacts in Singapore, it said.
The 34-year-old man, an employee of Grace Assembly of God church, reported onset of symptoms on Feb 1 and sought treatment at four private clinics over more than a week. Before he was admitted at the NCID he visited shopping mall Plaza Singapura and Fusionopolis in One North. He lives in Bukit Batok.
The 46-year-old man, an employee of Grace Assembly of God church, reported onset of symptoms on Feb 3, and sought treatment at a general practitioner five days later. On the same day, he went to the emergency department at the National University Hospital (NUH) and was discharged. He was admitted to NUH two days later.
The 62-year-old man, an employee of DBS was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Wednesday morning.
On Wednesday, DBS said an employee had been infected with the coronavirus, prompting the bank to take precautionary measures and have employees at the affected Marina Bay Financial Centre office work from home.
The bank is conducting contact tracing with all employees and any others the infected person may have come into contact with.
Assoc Prof Mak urged people not to "doctor hop", so that the doctors who visit can monitor them and their symptoms accurately.
HEALTHCARE WORKERS DESERVE SUPPORT
Mr Gan also appealed to Singaporeans not to shun healthcare workers, who are on the frontline taking care of patients. He urged them to show these workers “well-deserved” support.
“A kind word or warm greeting can go a long way,” he said.
Mr Gan also thanked general practitioners who are on the frontline, and play a critical role in detecting and managing patients.
He said that his ministry will put aside 1 million masks for private doctors, including specialists.
Some of them have given feedback that they are concerned about the supply of masks, he said.
"I would like to take this opportunity to assure them that they would get the supplies that they need because they are a part of our team," he said.
Last week, authorities raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) level to Orange, prompting additional precautionary measures.
READ: Singapore tourism to take 'significant hit' in 2020 due to coronavirus, up to 30% fewer visitors expected
The coronavirus outbreak is expected to take a toll on the tourism sector, with the Singapore Tourism Board on Tuesday saying visitor arrivals are estimated to fall by 25 per cent to 30 per cent this year.
The virus, officially named COVID-19 on Tuesday, has killed more than 1,100 people and infected nearly 45,000 since it emerged in China at the end of last year.
It has since spread beyond China to 24 other countries, with the World Health Organization declaring a public health emergency last month.