SINGAPORE: Four new cases of the novel coronavirus have been confirmed in Singapore bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 28 as of noon, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Wednesday (Feb 5).
Of the four new cases, three are linked to the cluster of local transmission announced on Tuesday. They include a father and his 6-month-old baby boy. The 28-year-old mother of the child was confirmed as infected earlier.
But the ministry added: "There is as yet no evidence of widespread community transmission in Singapore."
Singapore's first locally transmitted cases were announced on Tuesday. One of them was a tour guide for a group of Chinese tourists, two others worked at a shop the group had visited and the fourth case was a domestic helper of one of the cases.
MOH on Wednesday said the tour group consisted of 20 tourists from Guangxi, two of whom are confirmed by Chinese authorities to be infected with the coronavirus.
With Wednesday's new cases, the local transmission cluster includes seven confirmed cases.
COUPLE, BABY AND MAID INFECTED
The 28-year-old mother - whose infection was announced on Tuesday - works at Yong Thai Hang, a health product shop that primarily serves Chinese tourists.
Her husband, a 45-year-old Singaporean tested positive on Wednesday at about 2pm, and is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). Both have no recent travel history to China.
The couple's child, a six-month-old boy, tested positive at the same time and is currently warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital. The family's domestic helper was one of the confirmed cases on Tuesday.
MOH said in an update on Thursday that the child was not in any infant care facility and was cared for at home, prior to being admitted to the hospital.
Another confirmed case announced on Wednesday is also part of this cluster. He is a 40-year-old Singaporeanand the husband of a 32-year-old tour guide who brought tourists to Yong Thai Hang. She was confirmed as a coronavirus case on Tuesday.
Like his wife, the man does not have recent travel history to China.
He is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.
The man first reported that he developed a fever on Jan 24. He visited Hougang Polyclinic with his wife on Jan 30, and self-presented at NCID on Monday, where he was immediately isolated, MOH said.
Subsequent test results confirmed his infection on Tuesday at about 8pm.
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MOH said the woman went to NCID on Monday and was confirmed to be infected on Tuesday at about 2pm. She is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.
"While she had previously reported that she was asymptomatic when she went to NCID, she subsequently informed NCID on Tuesday night that she had developed a fever on Jan 30," added MOH.
Prior to hospital admission, she stayed at her home at Buangkok Green and worked at Jalan Besar. She visited Hougang Polyclinic on Jan 30, and went to a supermarket near her home.
The man also stayed in his Buangkok Green home before being admitted to hospital.
He worked at Diamond Industries Jewellery Company at Harbour Drive which was visited by the same tour group from Guangxi. He indicated that he had visited Pasir Panjang Hawker Centre and had travelled by public transport
"The risk of infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or in public places, is assessed to be low," said MOH.
A total of 379 close contacts of all confirmed cases have been identified as of noon on Wednesday, the ministry said.
Of the 304 who are still in Singapore, 299 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated, while efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining five.
A total of 295 of the suspect cases have tested negative and 62 were pending results.
ANOTHER IMPORTED CASE
A 42-year-old female Chinese national who arrived in Singapore from Wuhan on Jan 21 was also confirmed to have the virus on Wednesday. She is the daughter of an earlier confirmed case, a 73-year-old woman who tested positive on Jan 30.
"As (the 42-year-old) was symptomatic, she was conveyed by ambulance to NCID on the same day as her mother, and immediately isolated," said MOH, adding that she is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.
Subsequent test results confirmed her infection on Tuesday at about 8pm.
Last Friday, it was announced that all new visitors with recent travel history to mainland China will not be allowed to enter Singapore. These visitors will also not be allowed to transit in Singapore.
Those with Chinese passports, with the exception of Singapore permanent residents (PRs) and long-term pass holders, will also not be allowed to enter Singapore.
The new coronavirus started in Wuhan in China's Hubei province but has since spread to more than 20 countries around the world.
It has killed nearly 500 people and infected more than 24,000 globally. The World Health Organization has declared the virus outbreak a global emergency.
Most deaths have been in Hubei province and officials have noted that the death rate, at around 2 per cent, is below the mortality rate of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.
The new coronavirus is from the same family of pathogens as the one that causes SARS, which killed about 800 people in 2002-2003.