SINGAPORE: From Wednesday (Jan 22), Singapore will place all pneumonia patients who have been to China in recent weeks under isolation, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday.
People who have pneumonia and have travelled to China in the 14 days before their symptoms surfaced will be isolated in hospital as a precaution to prevent transmission, MOH said.
Those who have acute respiratory infection and had visited any hospital in China in the 14 days before they fell ill will also be isolated.
To date, only suspect cases with fever and pneumonia and with travel history to Wuhan, the centre of the virus outbreak, have been subject to isolation.
The additional measures come after the confirmation of human-to-human transmission by the Chinese authorities.
From Australia to Thailand and as far as Nepal, nations stepped up fever checks of passengers at airports to detect the SARS-like coronavirus.
The death toll in China has risen to six and the number of cases jumped to 291, raising concerns in the middle of a Chinese New Year holiday travel rush.
The virus was confirmed to have spread to more parts of China, with the eastern province of Zhejiang reporting five cases, and the northern city of Tianjin reporting two.
There were also 14 cases reported in Guangdong, five in the capital Beijing and another two in Shanghai by the end of Monday.
Two cases have already been identified in Thailand, one in Japan and one in South Korea. Taiwan also confirmed its first case, a woman who had returned from working in Wuhan, on Tuesday.
Singapore's MOH also updated that temperature screening at Changi Airport for all travellers on flights arriving from China will start on Wednesday.
Suspect cases will be referred to hospitals for further assessment.
"To date, there have been no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus reported in Singapore," it said.
"However, given the high volume of international travel to Singapore, we expect to see more suspect cases and possibly imported cases."
Once a case is confirmed, contact tracing will be initiated. Authorities will implement strict isolation, quarantine, and infection control and prevention measures to prevent further transmission, MOH said.
Since the start of the year, seven people in Singapore have been warded and tested after they were found to have pneumonia and travelled to Wuhan.
All of the cases tested negative for coronavirus and were not linked to the cluster in Wuhan, MOH said.
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