Singapore confirms 3 new cases of Wuhan virus; total of 10 infected

Singapore confirms 3 new cases of Wuhan virus; total of 10 infected

People wearing protective face mask at Orchard Road
A person wearing a protective face mask at Orchard Road, Singapore on Jan 28. (File photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Singapore on Wednesday (Jan 29) confirmed three new cases of the Wuhan coronavirus, bringing the total number of people infected in the country to 10.

All three cases are Chinese nationals who travelled from Wuhan, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) in a press release. 

"This is consistent with our assessment that more imported cases are expected from Hubei province. There is currently no evidence of community spread in Singapore," said MOH. 

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

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The eighth and ninth cases are a 56-year-old woman and 56-year-old man, who are married. They arrived in Singapore on Jan 19 and are currently warded in isolation rooms at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). 

They reported they were asymptomatic during the flight to Singapore, but developed symptoms on Jan 24 and took a taxi to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Jan 27. 

Wuhan virus table Jan 30, 2020 - 8.30am

The couple tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this week on Tuesday at about 11pm and on Wednesday at 2pm respectively. 

Prior to hospital admission, the couple had stayed with their family at their home at Lorong Lew Lian in Upper Serangoon, MOH said.

READ: Wuhan virus outbreak at a glance

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The 10th confirmed case is a 56-year-old man who arrived in Singapore on Jan 20. He is also warded at NCID. 

He reported he was asymptomatic during his flight to Singapore. He developed symptoms on Jan 21 and was admitted to NCID on Tuesday after being identified as a suspect case at a health screening station at Marina South Pier. 

Test results confirmed the infection at about 2pm on Wednesday. 

"Prior to hospital admission, the case worked and lived on board a cargo vessel," said MOH. 

The Maritime and Port Authority (MPA) in response to CNA's queries said the man had "proceeded directly to the ship where he worked as a crew" member after arriving at Changi Airport from Wuhan on the morning of Jan 20.

The cargo ship had arrived on the same day in Singapore and has been anchored in Singapore waters since.

"Based on the National Environment Agency’s guidelines, the ship will be required to be disinfected," said MPA.

"The shipping community, including the master of this ship, (was) earlier advised to take precautionary measures when travelling, as well as to remain vigilant and adopt good personal hygiene at all times.

"Ship crew who feel unwell should inform the master immediately,” added MPA.

The authorities have initiated contact tracing to identify those who had been in close contact with the cases. 

"The three new cases are stable currently, and we are continuing to monitor their health," MOH added.

UPDATE ON PREVIOUS CASES

MOH also said on Wednesday that the previously announced seven confirmed cases "remain in stable condition" and that "most are improving". 

As of noon on Wednesday, a total of 124 suspected cases have tested negative for the Wuhan virus. Test results for the remaining 70 cases are pending. 

MOH has also identified 144 people who had come in close contact with the confirmed cases. Of the 115 people still in Singapore, 111 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated, the ministry added.

"Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining four close contacts," the press release said.

EXISTING MEASURES TO CONTAIN VIRUS

New visitors who have travelled to Hubei, where the Chinese city of Wuhan is located, in the last two weeks or hold passports issued in the province are no longer allowed to enter or transit in Singapore.

The restriction was announced on Tuesday as Singapore confirmed its sixth and seventh cases of the coronavirus - both men from Wuhan, aged 56 and 35 respectively.

The move came after the Government announced measures such as temperature screening for all incoming flights and a compulsory leave of absence for students and teachers returning from China.

Singapore confirmed its first case of the coronavirus on Jan 23, a 66-year-old Wuhan man who had stayed at Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa. 

A day later, the man's 37-year-old son and an unrelated 53-year-old woman, also from Wuhan, tested positive for the virus.

On Jan 26, it announced its fourth confirmed case - a 36-year-old man from Wuhan who had stayed at Village Hotel Sentosa.

A fifth case was confirmed the following day – a 56-year-old female woman from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore with her family on Jan 18.

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Source: CNA/jt

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