COVID-19: Singapore confirms 3 new cases, 2 linked to Grace Assembly of God church; total at 75

People wearing protective face masks walks along Orchard Road on 14 February 2020. (Photo: LightRocket via Getty Images)

UPDATE: The Ministry of Health has clarified that one of two new cases is a regular serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces.

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday (16 February) confirmed three new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases here to 75.

All three cases have no recent travel history to China.

There are at least five such identified clusters here. Apart from the Grace Assembly of God cluster, the other four clusters are those associated with health products shop Yong Thai Hang along Cavan Road, The Life Church, and Missions Singapore in Paya Lebar, a business meeting at the Grand Hyatt hotel and the construction site at Seletar Aerospace Heights.

Case 73 and Case 74: linked to Grace Assembly of God cluster

Two of the new cases are a 43 year-old Singaporean man and a 29 year-old Singaporean man linked to the Grace Assembly of God cluster. Both men were confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Saturday afternoon.

The 43-year-old man is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

He reported onset of symptoms on 9 February and sought treatment at a general practitioner (GP) clinic on Monday. As he was identified as a close contact of a 48-year-old Singaporean man with no recent travel history to China (Case 51), he was served a home quarantine order on Thursday and conveyed to NCID on Friday. The 48-year-old man worked at Grace Assembly of God at the Tanglin and Bukit Batok branches.

Prior to hospital admission, the 43-year-old man had attended church service at Grace Assembly of God at Tanglin Road. He is a regular serviceman in the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) but had not gone to work since onset of symptoms. He stays at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh.

In a post on Facebook, the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said on Sunday night that the serviceman last visited his place of work at Building 613 of Tengah Air Base on 6 February. 

“The SAF has been in contact with the serviceman to provide support and assistance. And as a precautionary measure, the SAF has carried out immediate and thorough disinfection of the premises he had been in,” Mindef said.

The 29-year-old man is currently warded in an isolation room at Alexandra Hospital (AH).

He reported onset of symptoms on Wednesday. He had sought treatment at the Urgent Care Centre at AH on the same day, and again on Saturday when he was admitted and immediately isolated.

Prior to hospital admission, he had gone to work at Hi-Yew Technology at Ubi Road. He stays at Mei Ling Street.

Case 75: linked to family member who is confirmed case (Case 41)

The third new case is a 71 year-old Singaporean woman. She is confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Sunday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

She is a family member of a 71-year-old Singaporean man, who had no recent travel history to China and was confirmed to have COVID-19 on 8 February.

MOH also provided more details of the previously confirmed cases.

Case 68 and Case 70: Family members of Case 66, linked to Grace Assembly of God

Case 68 is a 79-year-old Singaporean woman with no recent travel history to China. She is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. She is a family member of Case 66, a 28-year-old Singaporean man who is linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God.

She reported onset of symptoms on 30 January, and went to NCID on Friday. Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Friday afternoon.

Prior to hospital admission, she had attended church service at Bethany Presbyterian Church at Paya Lebar Road.

Case 70 is a 27-year-old Singaporean woman with no recent travel history to China. She is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. She is also a family member of Case 66.

She reported onset of symptoms on 3 February and sought treatment at a GP clinic on the same day. She went to NCID on Friday. Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Saturday morning.

Prior to hospital admission, she had attended church services at God’s Kingdom Bread of Life Church at Jalan Pemimpin, and had gone to work at HipVan Singapore at Kallang Avenue.

Both women stay at Mei Hwan Drive.

Case 69: Linked to cluster at Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site

Case 69 is a 26 year-old Bangladesh national who is a Singapore Work Pass holder, and has no recent travel history to China. He is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. He is linked to the cluster at Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site.

He had been identified as a close contact of Cases 42, 47, 52 and 56 - all of whom are also Bangladeshi nationals.

He had been quarantined at a government quarantine facility from Tuesday. He reported onset of symptoms that night and was conveyed by ambulance to NCID on Friday Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Saturday morning.

Case 71: Close contact of Case 66 and Case 70

Case 71 is a 25 year-old Singaporean man with no recent travel history to China. He is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. He is a contact of Case 66, the 28-year-old Singaporean man linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God, and Case 70, the 27-year-old Singaporean woman who is a family member of Case 66.

He reported onset of symptoms on 1 February and had sought treatment at a GP clinic on Monday. He went to Sengkang General Hospital on Friday and was transferred to NCID on Saturday.

Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Saturday morning.

Prior to hospital admission, he had gone to work at a construction site at Fernvale Lane and had attended church services at God’s Kingdom Bread of Life Church. He stays at Fernvale Road.

Case 72: Non-medical contact of 61-year-old Singaporean man (Case 59)

Case 72 is a 40 year-old male Chinese national who is a Singapore Work Pass holder, and has no recent travel history to China. He is a non-medical contact of Case 59, a 61-year-old Singaporean man with no recent travel history to China. The latter was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Thursday.

He reported onset of symptoms on Monday and sought treatment at a GP clinic on Tuesday and Thursday. As he was identified as a close contact of Case 59, he was sent to NCID by an ambulance on Friday. Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Saturday morning.

Prior to hospital admission, he had visited Marina Bay Sands Casino and gone to work at Aim Heng Car Service at Woodlands Industrial Park. He stays at a rental apartment at Woodlands Crescent.

Other cases

One patient was discharged from hospital on Sunday. In all, 19 have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged from hospital.

Of the 56 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. Five are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

As of Sunday, 12pm, apart from the 75 confirmed cases, 871 of the suspect cases have tested negative for COVID-19, while test results for the remaining 119 cases are pending.

MOH has identified 2,179 close contacts. Of the 2,045 who are still in Singapore, 1,781 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 264 close contacts.

COVID-19’s death toll surpasses SARS epidemic

The novel strain belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002-2003 outbreak and also started in China.

It likely originated from Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market, where live animals or products – such as foxes, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, porcupines, and camel meat – are sold.

Declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 has spread to 28 territories beyond mainland China. The WHO also said that cases being transmitted by people who have never travelled to China could be the "tip of the iceberg".

By territory, Singapore has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China.

The global tally includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which has 355 cases. Five Singaporeans on board the ship have reported that they are physically well, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson on Wednesday, in response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries.

As of Sunday, more than 1,600 people have died of the virus in China, which has sickened over 69,000 people. The last two days saw a steep rise in the number of cases after a change in diagnostic methods in the country.

Five territories – Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines and France – have each reported the death of a patient infected with the virus.

Patients suffering from the new strain may exhibit fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness – such as coughing or difficulty in breathing – as well as pneumonia-like symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and headache.

However, some who have died from it have not displayed symptoms of fever, according to details released by China’s National Health Commission, potentially complicating global efforts to check for infected travellers as they arrive at airports and other travel hubs.

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