Singaporean evacuated from Wuhan among country's 3 new cases of coronavirus, total now 16: MOH

Singaporean evacuated from Wuhan among country's 3 new cases of coronavirus, total now 16: MOH

Woman wears a mask near NCID (2)
A man holds a protective face mask as he walks along Orchard Road, Singapore on Jan 28. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed three new cases of the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore on Friday (Jan 31), bringing the total to 16 cases.

All three cases recently travelled to China's Wuhan, where the virus originated. 

THREE NEW CASES

The 14th case is a 31-year-old Chinese national with a Singapore work pass. He arrived in Singapore from Wuhan on Jan 26, and reported to be asymptomatic on his flight but developed symptoms on Jan 28.

He sought medical treatment at a clinic on Thursday and was taken to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) in an ambulance.

The man tested positive for the coronavirus at about 11pm on Thursday. 

He is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. Prior to admission, the man stayed at home in Jurong East Street 13. 

The 15th case is a 47-year-old Singaporean, who had travelled to Wuhan with her family and was one of the 92 Singaporeans who were evacuated from the city on Thursday. 

She was asymptomatic when she boarded the flight, but was found to have a fever during the medical screening at Changi Airport and was taken to NCID. 

She tested positive for the coronavirus at about 2pm on Friday and is warded in an isolation room at NCID. 

The 16th case is a 38-year-old Chinese man who arrived in Singapore from Wuhan on Jan 22. He tested positive for the coronavirus at about 2pm on Friday and is currently warded in an isolation room at the Singapore General Hospital. 

All three cases are in stable condition, said MOH. 

READ: Wuhan virus outbreak - At a glance

PREVIOUS CASES ALL IN STABLE CONDITION: MOH

The death toll in China has risen to 213, with nearly 10,000 infected, according to official figures released on Friday. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the situation a global emergency.

All of the 13 previously confirmed cases in Singapore came from Wuhan in Hubei province. 

The first case of the Wuhan coronavirus in Singapore was confirmed on Jan 23 - about a month after the first cases were reported in the Chinese city.

The seven men and six women, aged between 31 and 73, are being treated at isolation wards at NCID, Changi General Hospital, Singapore General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital.

In its press release on Friday, MOH shared more information about the 13th confirmed case, a 73-year-old woman who arrived in Singapore on Jan 21. 

The ministry said she was a close contact of the second confirmed case and multiple attempts were made to contact her. She was located on Jan 28 and reported having developed symptoms on the same day. 

The woman was taken to NCID, where she was isolated, and she tested positive for the coronavirus at about 2pm on Thursday. 

MOH said that prior to her admission, the woman stayed at ParkRoyal Collection Pickering and Oasia Hotel Downtown, and visited Changi Airport and Jewel. She travelled by taxi and private transport.

None of the 13 previously confirmed cases are critically ill, said the ministry. 

"All of them remain in stable condition and most are improving," it added. 

As of noon on Friday, 198 of the suspected cases have tested negative for the virus. Test results for the remaining 35 cases are pending. 

MOH also said that it has identified 202 close contacts as of noon on Friday. Of the 162 who are still in Singapore, 156 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining six close contacts, said MOH.

Singapore on Friday announced that it will widen travel restrictions to include all new visitors with recent travel history to China

China also said it will send charter planes to bring home citizens from Hubei who are overseas "as soon as possible".

The announcement came as a number of airlines, including Singapore Airlines and Scoot, announced they were halting or reducing flights to China as the country tackles the spread of the virus. 

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore: The first 7 days

READ: Wuhan coronavirus: Singapore to widen travel restrictions to all new visitors who recently travelled to mainland China

In a bid to contain the possible spread of the virus, a total of 967 students and employees from schools in Singapore have been placed on leave of absence because of their recent travel history to China.

On Saturday, authorities will begin distributing packs of four surgical masks for each Singapore household. There have been long queues for masks at pharmacies and retailers across the country.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing on Thursday reassured people that Singapore will have enough masks, provided the supply is managed "appropriately".

READ: Wuhan coronavirus: 1,500 SAF personnel packing 5.2m masks in 24-hour operation

Retailers were also warned against profiteering. A letter of demand was sent to retailer Deen Express after complaints of masks being sold at high prices at its store.

The retailer will have to explain to the Price Controller the “basis of their selling prices for the sale of masks, including their cost price and profit margins”.

Mr Chan discouraged people from panic buying and hoarding masks, saying it could "jeopardise the entire system".

LISTEN: Wuhan virus – The WHO, Singapore's infectious diseases authority and a global outbreak expert answer your burning questions

Medical experts CNA spoke to cautioned that masks may offer a "false sense of security" if they are used wrongly by people protecting themselves against viruses.

They should be used by people who do not feel well and are coughing, so as to protect others, a WHO representative said.

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Source: CNA/jt

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