Wuhan virus: 3 new cases confirmed in Singapore, bringing tally to 13

Wuhan virus: 3 new cases confirmed in Singapore, bringing tally to 13

People wearing protective face mask at Orchard Road
A woman is seen wearing a face mask at Orchard Road, Singapore on Jan 28, 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: There are a total of 13 confirmed Wuhan virus cases in Singapore, after the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported on Thursday (Jan 30) another three people have been diagnosed.

The latest cases include a 31-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore on Jan 22. She was a travelling companion of the fourth confirmed case.  

The woman reported no symptoms during her flight to Singapore. 

"She was identified as a close contact of the fourth confirmed case and had been quarantined from Jan 26," said MOH, adding that she developed symptoms on Jan 27 and tested positive for the virus at 11pm on Wednesday. 

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

The 12th case is a 37-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore on Jan 22 with her family. She also reported being asymptomatic during her flight.

The woman developed symptoms on Jan 26 and took a taxi to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Wednesday before testing positive for the virus at about 11pm that same day. 

MOH said she stayed at Village Hotel Sentosa, Hotel 81 Princess and Home Suite View Hotel while she was in Singapore. She also indicated that she had visited Orchard Road and Geylang, and had travelled by taxi. 

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

The 13th confirmed case is a 73-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan, who arrived in Singapore with her family on Jan 21. She tested positive for the coronavirus at 2pm on Thursday. 

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

All three new cases are warded in isolation rooms at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) and in stable condition, according to MOH. 

Contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing.

MOH said it has identified a total of 170 close contacts, of whom 139 are still in Singapore, 135 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining four close contacts. 

"As for the 10 previously announced cases, none are critically ill. All of them are in stable condition and most are improving," the ministry added.  

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Authorities said that as of noon on Thursday, 164 of the suspected cases have tested negative for the virus. Test results for the remaining 49 are pending. 

All of the 10 previously confirmed cases in Singapore were Chinese nationals from Wuhan, with the first case of the coronavirus confirmed on Jan 23 - about a month after the outbreak in Wuhan.

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore: The first 7 days

They include seven men and three women, aged between 35 and 66.

The patients are being treated at isolation wards at NCID, Singapore General Hospital and Sengkang General Hospital.

Some of them had stayed at hotels, including Shangri-La's Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, Village Hotel Sentosa, J8 Hotel as well as at Marina Bay Sands.

As more cases were confirmed over the last week, people have been snapping up masks, thermometers and hand sanitisers, forming long queues and emptying shelves at several retail outlets islandwide.

In response, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong announced on Thursday that authorities will distribute four surgical face masks for each Singapore household beginning on Saturday. The distribution process is expected to be completed by Feb 9.

READ: Singapore households to get 4 face masks each amid worries over Wuhan virus

READ: Supply of masks in Singapore 'enough' if managed properly: Chan Chun Sing

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Speaking at the same press conference, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing reassured the public that Singapore will have enough masks provided the supply is managed "appropriately".

In particular, he urged the public not to "succumb to the short-term fears and panic buying and hoarding behaviours", as it would "jeopardise" the entire healthcare system.

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Source: CNA/jt/hs(hm)

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