7 new coronavirus cases in Singapore, including taxi and private-hire drivers

7 new coronavirus cases in Singapore, including taxi and private-hire drivers

File photo of traffic in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)
File photo of traffic in Singapore. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Singapore confirmed seven new cases of novel coronavirus on Saturday (Feb 8), including a taxi driver and a private-hire car driver, taking the country's tally to 40.

Of the 40 confirmed cases, four are in critical condition, with one requiring additional oxygen support. 

Two have been discharged, and the remaining are mostly "stable or improving", said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release.

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In addition to a taxi driver and a private-hire driver, the new cases include: Two employees of Yong Thai Hang, the health products shop linked to a local transmission cluster and a Chinese tour group; as well as another two who attended a business meeting at Grand Hyatt hotel, which has been linked to a cluster of local and overseas cases. 

All seven patients had not travelled to China recently, said the ministry.

Coronavirus - Yong Thai Hang map, Singapore locally transmitted cluster

MOH said it is working with the Ministry of Transport to reach out to all taxi and private-hire drivers on the steps they should take to protect themselves.

"For the general public, the risk of infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or in public places, is assessed to be low," MOH said.

Details of the new cases are below:

CASE 34

Case 34 is a 40-year-old Singaporean woman who works at Yong Thai Hang. She reported symptoms on Jan 27, and visited a general practitioner clinic on the same day and another on Feb 1.

As she works at Yong Thai Hang, she was identified as a close contact of cases 19 and 20, and placed under home quarantine on Feb 4.

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24 Cavan Road storefront
View of Yong Thai Hang 24 Cavan Road. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

She was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Feb 6, and tested positive for the virus the following day.

Prior to hospital admission, the woman, who lives at Sin Ming Road, had gone to work at Yong Thai Hang.

Coronavirus clusters in Singapore
An infographic on possible and confirmed coronavirus clusters in Singapore as of Feb 8, 2020. (Graphic: Kenneth Choy, Source: MOH)

CASE 35

Case 35 is a 64-year-old Singaporean taxi driver who reported first having symptoms on Jan 30. He visited Bukit Merah Polyclinic on Jan 31, was admitted to Singapore General Hospital on Feb 6 and tested positive on Feb 7. 

Between the time he had symptoms and when he was admitted to hospital, the man had largely stayed at his home at Henderson Crescent, except to visit Redhill Market and a hawker centre at Bukit Merah for meals.

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CASE 36

Case 36 is a 38-year-old Singaporean permanent resident who attended the Grand Hyatt business meeting from Jan 20 to 22. She also travelled to Johor Bahru from Jan 25 to 28.

She reported symptoms on Jan 24 and visited a GP clinic on Feb 1. She was isolated and admitted to KK Women's and Children's Hospital on Feb 4, and test results confirmed the infection on Feb 7. She is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

Prior to hospital admission, she had visited a family member at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. She lives at Bukit Batok Street 31.

CASE 37

Case 37 is a 53-year-old Singaporean who worked as a private-hire car driver and lives at Jurong East Street 32. 

He reported onset of symptoms on Jan 30 and visited two GP clinics on Feb 1 and 3. He was admitted to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on Feb 6 and transferred to NCID two days later after testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

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CASE 38

Case 38 is a 52-year-old Singaporean woman who had visited The Life Church and Missions Singapore, which has been linked to another cluster of cases.

She reported onset of symptoms on Feb 3 and visited Choa Chu Kang Polyclinic the day after. She was admitted to NCID on Feb 7, where tests confirmed the infection.

Prior to hospital admission, she had also visited Marina Bay Sands, Chinatown and Plaza Singapura and had travelled by public transport. She lives at Choa Chu Kang Avenue 3.

CASE 39

Case 39 is a 51-year-old Singaporean man who attended the same business meeting as several other cases at Grand Hyatt, and lives at Jurong West Central. 

He travelled to Malaysia from Jan 23 to Feb 2. On Jan 29, he reported the onset of symptoms and visited two GP clinics on Feb 3 and 5. He was admitted to NCID on Feb 6 and tested positive for the infection on Feb 8.

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CASE 40

Case 40 is a 36-year-old Singaporean man who works at Yong Thai Hang and lives at Bedok North Street.

He reported the onset of symptoms on Jan 30 and visited a GP clinic the same day. He was identified as a close contact of two other cases linked to the health products shop, and placed under home quarantine on Feb 4.

He was admitted to NCID on Feb 7 and tested positive the following day.

LINKS BETWEEN PREVIOUS CASES FOUND

Further epidemiological investigations and contact tracing, with the help of the police, have uncovered links between previously announced and new cases, MOH said. 

Nine of Singapore's cases are linked to the cluster associated with Yong Thai Hang at 24 Cavan Road in Jalan Besar. Five cases are linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore at 146B Paya Lebar Road. Three cases are linked to the Grand Hyatt business meeting in Singapore.

Investigations on these clusters are ongoing, and contact tracing is under way for the locally transmitted cases, said the ministry.

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SUSPECTED CASES

As of Feb 8 noon, 438 of the suspected cases have tested negative for the novel coronavirus. Test results for the remaining 181 cases are pending.

A total of 758 close contacts of the confirmed cases have been identified. Of the 663 who are still in Singapore, 647 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 16 close contacts, said MOH.

Contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing, said the health ministry. 

MOH said it will continue to monitor the situation. 

"As medical practitioners are on the lookout for suspect cases who have recently been in China, Singapore is likely to see more cases that will need to be investigated," it said.

DORSCON ORANGE

On Friday, Singapore raised the DORSCON level to Orange following several cases of novel coronavirus without any links to previous cases or travel history to mainland China. 

This means the disease is deemed severe and spreads easily from person to person, but has not spread widely and is being contained. Moderate disruption is expected, due to measures such as quarantine and visitor restrictions at hospitals.

READ: Coronavirus outbreak: Singapore raises DORSCON level to orange; schools to suspend inter-school, external activities

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A second flight bringing Singaporeans and their family members back from Wuhan, Hubei is expected to arrive in Singapore on Sunday morning.

At least 722 people have died from the virus in China while more than 34,000 have been infected, according to the latest official figures.

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Source: CNA/ic

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