COVID-19: First two deaths in Singapore due to coronavirus infection

SINGAPORE – The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Saturday (21 March) confirmed the first two deaths in Singapore due to the novel coronavirus.

In a doorstop with reporters, Minister of Health Gan Kim Yong said, “We are deeply saddened by their passing. Our thoughts are with their families during this difficult time. We will render all necessary assistance to their families.”

Case 90: 75-year-old Singaporean woman

The first patient was a 75-year-old female Singaporean with a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension. She was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on 23 February for pneumonia, and was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on the same day, the ministry said.

The woman had been cared for in the intensive care unit (ICU) since admission to NCID. She developed serious complications and eventually succumbed to the infection 21 March at 7.52am.

She was linked to the cluster at The Life Church and Missions Singapore.

Case 212: 64-year-old Indonesian man

The second patient was a 64-year-old male Indonesian with a history of heart disease. He was admitted in critical condition to the ICU at NCID on 13 March, after arriving in Singapore from Indonesia on the same day, the ministry said. He was then confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on 14 March.

He had been cared for in the ICU since 13 March. He developed serious complications and eventually succumbed to the infection 21 March at 10.15am. He had been in the ICU for nine days.

Prior to his arrival in Singapore on 13 March, he had been hospitalised in Indonesia for pneumonia.

In a Facebook post, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong conveyed his deepest condolences to the loved ones of those who succumbed to their infections. “As we get more COVID-19 cases, more patients will need ICU care, and we must brace ourselves for more losses,” he added.

Cases in Singapore

As of noon on Friday, the MOH said:

  • Most of the 254 hospitalised patients are stable or improving.

  • A total of 16 are in critical condition in the ICU. This figure includes the two patients who were in the ICU before their deaths.

  • In all, 131 have fully recovered and have been discharged, about 34 per cent of the total number of cases.

  • The total number of confirmed cases in Singapore stands at 385.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)

Enhanced border control measures

As of 11.59pm on Friday, all travellers entering Singapore must serve the 14-day stay-home notice, while Singaporeans have been urged to defer all travel abroad immediately.

All short-term visitors are required to provide proof of the place where they will serve their notice, which bars them from leaving the premises during the period.

In addition, those who are ASEAN nationals – from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam – must submit requisite health information for approval before travelling here.

Similarly, all new and existing work pass holders – including their dependants – planning to enter or return to Singapore from any country will have to obtain the Ministry of Manpower's approval before commencing their journey.

“Even with these controls, we have to be mentally prepared for the number of imported cases to increase, because more Singaporeans want to come back – students, people working overseas,” National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who is the taskforce’s co-chair, said at a doorstop on Wednesday.

“But at least with the new measures, we can ensure that all arrivals will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, and we will enforce this strictly.”

Short-term visitors with recent travel history to mainland China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, and Spain remain banned from entering Singapore.

Any traveller exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness such as fever will continue to be subjected to a nasal swab test for the coronavirus across all checkpoints.

As of Saturday, there are over 276,000 COVID-19 cases globally, Over 11,400 have succumbed to the virus, the majority of them in China and Italy. The latter is now the country with the highest number of fatalities with over 4,000 deaths, surpassing China’s official count.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)

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