Two more people test positive for Wuhan virus in Singapore; total of 3 confirmed cases: MOH

Two more people test positive for Wuhan virus in Singapore; total of 3 confirmed cases: MOH

Two more people have tested positive for the Wuhan virus in Singapore, bringing the total number of cases to three, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday (Jan 24). Tan Si Hui reports.

SINGAPORE: Two more people have tested positive for the Wuhan virus in Singapore, bringing the total number of cases to three, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday (Jan 24).

The new patients include the 37-year-old son of the first confirmed case, MOH said in a media briefing on Friday afternoon. 

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore: What can you do?

READ: Wuhan virus outbreak: At a glance

The second new confirmed case is a 53-year-old woman from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore on a Scoot flight TR121 at 5.30am on Jan 21.

She was flagged by the ministry on Thursday as a preliminary positive case.

MOH said that the woman had reported that she was asymptomatic during the flight to Singapore, but developed a fever, cough and chills in the afternoon of her arrival on Jan 21.

She sought medical attention at Raffles Hospital the next day and was later taken to the emergency department at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and immediately isolated.

MOH was notified of a suspect case at 3am on Jan 23. The woman subsequently tested positive for the virus at midnight.

She is currently warded at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and is in a stable condition.

The woman had stayed at J8 Hotel and visited Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands and Gardens by the Bay, MOH said.

J8 hotel in Singapore
Screengrab from Google Maps of J8 Hotel in Singapore.

She had also used public transport in Singapore, including the MRT and taxies.

"The risk of transient contact, such as on public transport or in public places, is assessed to be low," said MOH.

Singapore Wuhan virus cases timeline

Singapore's land transport operators said they have implemented preventive measures against the Wuhan virus threat.

They include a stepped-up cleaning and disinfecting schedule and issuing travel and personal hygiene advisories to employees.

Wuhan virus protecting yourself graphic

Both ComfortDelGro and SMRT employees have been advised to avoid all travel to Hubei province, where Wuhan is located.

SMRT also said that those returning from China will undergo mandatory temperature taking.

"As a precautionary measure for our commuters, hand sanitisers are available at all MRT stations and bus interchanges," added SMRT.


READ: PM Lee says Singapore 'better prepared' for another virus after SARS outbreak

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore - What we know about the confirmed cases

FIRST IMPORTED CASE
The latest update comes after Singapore announced on Thursday its first confirmed case, a 66-year-old Wuhan resident who arrived in Singapore from Guangzhou on Jan 20.

He is in isolation at the Singapore General Hospital and in a stable condition, authorities said.

The man stayed at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa and indicated that he had kept within the hotel vicinity.

Contact tracing for his close contacts is ongoing, said MOH, adding that it has identified 46 such people as of noon on Jan 23.

One of them is his 37-year-old son, who is now confirmed as having the virus.

Twenty-four of those close contacts - including his eight travelling companions - had left Singapore before his case was confirmed.

The health authorities in the respective countries of those 24 people have been informed and are following up, said MOH, without providing information on the countries.

The ministry has quarantined 16 people and is still trying to get in touch with the remaining five contacts, it said.

"The health status of all close contacts will be closely monitored. As a precautionary measure, they will be quarantined for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient," said MOH.

"In addition, all other identified contacts who have a low risk of being infected will be under active surveillance, and will be contacted daily to monitor their health status," it added.

UPDATE ON SUSPECT CASES

There have been a total of 44 suspect cases in Singapore as of noon on Jan 24, of which 13 have tested negative and test results are pending for the remaining 28, said MOH.

The suspect cases are aged between 1 and 78 years old.

Two of the 44 suspect cases are employees of Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, the hotel where the first confirmed case had stayed during his trip in Singapore, said Associate Professor Vernon Lee, director of communicable diseases at MOH. The two employees had no travel history to China, he added.

There is still no evidence of community spread as the suspect cases were identified early, said Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services (designate) at MOH.

READ: Singapore confirms first case of Wuhan virus

READ: Patients' travel history, dedicated isolation areas - GPs take measures in wake of Wuhan virus

THE FIGHT AGAINST THE VIRUS

Singapore has formed a multi-ministerial task force to deal with the situation and expanded border screening to all land and sea checkpoints.

A travel advisory has also been expanded for Singaporeans to avoid travelling to Hubei province, where Wuhan city is located.

Schools in Singapore have asked parents to declare their travel plans for the Chinese New Year weekend. 

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines' budget carrier Scoot has cancelled its daily flight to Wuhan as a precautionary measure. 

Singapore businesses with a presence in Wuhan have also taken measures. ST Engineering, which has rail projects in Wuhan, has stopped all business commutes there.

MOH said on Friday that the government has sufficient stocks of masks in the warehouses and government stockpiles.

It is also working with retailers to move available stocks to the retail shops, and stocks will be available progressively from Friday, it added.

READ: WHO says 'bit too early' to declare coronavirus a global emergency

On Friday, China reported that the number of people infected by the SARS-like virus had exceeded 800, with 25 deaths.

The markedly higher numbers were released just hours after the World Health Organization called the outbreak "an emergency in China", but stopped short of declaring the situation a global health emergency.

China has effectively quarantined more than 20 million people across Wuhan and some nearby cities in response to the virus, and announced measures to curb its spread nationwide as hundreds of millions of people began travelling across the country this week for the Chinese New Year holiday.

Streets and shopping centres in Wuhan, a major industrial and transport hub, are now eerily quiet after authorities told residents not to leave the city of 11 million, where most of the cases have been identified.

The virus, which causes respiratory symptoms similar to a cold or flu, has been linked to a seafood market in Wuhan. That market has since been shut down.

The virus has spread to Beijing, Shanghai and Chongqing, as well as provinces in northeastern, central and southern China. 

Across the world, confirmed cases have also been reported in Hong Kong, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

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Source: CNA/nc

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