SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (27 February) confirmed three new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to 96.
Of these, two new cases, including a first-year student from Raffles Institution, are linked to previous cases.
All three have not travelled recently to China, as well as the South Korean city of Daegu and Cheongdo county. Contact tracing is underway for the remaining patient, case 94, to establish any links.
Four more patients have been discharged from the hospital, including two Chinese nationals and two Singaporeans:
Case 18: A 31-year Chinese national who arrived from Wuhan on 22 January
Case 72: A 40-year-old Chinese national with a Singapore work pass
Case 78: A 57-year-old Singaporean woman, who works in a community hospital and is linked to Grace Assembly of God
Case 80: A 38-year-old Singaporean woman who works at the National University Hospital and is linked to Grace Assembly of God
This brings the total of those who have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged to 66, more than half of the total confirmed cases.
Of the 72 local transmissions, contact tracing is underway for 10 locally-transmitted cases with no established links.
Case 96: First-year Raffles Institution student
The 12-year-old Singaporean boy tested positive for the virus on Thursday afternoon and is currently warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
He is linked to case 94, a 64-year-old Singaporean woman in his family.
The student became unwell last Friday, said the Ministry of Education (MOE) in a press statement on Thursday. It added that he has been on medical leave and not been in school since.
“In light of this, Raffles Institution will be stepping up precautionary measures to protect its students and staff and prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said the MOE.
These include suspending school for all of its students on Friday to clean and disinfect school premises, with classes to resume on Monday.
Students, teachers, and staff who had recently come into contact with the student will be issued a 14-day leave of absence. Contact tracing is on-going, said the MOE.
Co-curricular activities will also be suspended for all students for two weeks.
The MOE added that the student had attended a language class last Thursday at the MOE Language Centre Bishan campus located at 11 Bishan Street 14.
Similarly, classes at the centre will also be suspended for one day on Friday to clean and disinfect the campus. Students, teachers, and staff of the centre who were in close contact with the student will be issued a 14-day leave-of-absence.
Case 94: Family member of RI student
The 64-year-old Singaporean woman is a family member of the student, according to the MOE, but their exact relationship is unclear.
She reported developing symptoms on 11 February and had sought treatment at a general practitioner clinic on 17 and 20 February as well as Monday.
She was referred to the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Monday and was immediately isolated. She later tested positive for the virus on Wednesday afternoon and is currently warded in an isolation room in the SGH.
Prior to her hospital admission, she had mostly stayed at her home in the Jalan Jurong Kechil area.
Case 95: Linked to 38-year-old Singaporean man
The 44-year-old Singaporean man is linked to a 38-year-old Singaporean man, who was confirmed on Wednesday, but their exact relationship was not mentioned by the MOH.
He tested positive for the virus on Thursday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
Separately, the MOH provided more information on the 38-year-old man, referred to as case 93, on Thursday. He had reported developing symptoms on 17 February and had sought treatment at a general practitioner clinic on 18 and 23 February.
He presented at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital two days later and was immediately isolated.
He later tested positive for the virus on Wednesday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at the hospital.
Prior to his admission, he had mostly stayed at his home at Bukit Batok Street 31. The man had not travelled recently to China, as well as Daegu and Cheongdo.
More details on case 92: 47-year-old Singaporean man
The 47-year-old Singaporean man, also confirmed as a case on Wednesday, reported developing symptoms on 17 February.
He later sought treatment at a general practitioner clinic on 21 February and Monday.
He presented at Sengkang General Hospital on Monday and was immediately isolated. He tested positive for the virus on Wednesday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at the hospital.
Prior to his hospital admission, he had mostly stayed at his home at Serangoon Avenue 3. The man had not travelled recently to China, as well as Daegu and Cheongdo.
8 in ICU; most remaining cases stable
The MOH said that most of the remaining 30 patients in the hospital are stable or improving. Eight, up from seven on Wednesday, remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit.
As of Thursday noon, the ministry has identified 2,887 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 245 are currently quarantined, and 2,642 have completed their quarantine.
The MOH reiterated its advice for Singaporeans to defer all travel to Hubei province, home to Wuhan where the virus originated, and all non-essential travel to mainland China.
In addition, the MOH advised members of the public to avoid non-essential travel to Daegu city and Cheongdo county in South Korea following a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.
It also reminded the public to continue to exercise caution when travelling to the rest of South Korea.
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 49 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".
To date, the virus has left more than 2,800 people in China dead and sickened over 82,000 globally. Over 30 deaths related to the outbreak have been reported outside mainland China.
At 1,766 confirmed infections including 13 deaths, South Korea has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China. Italy has the third-highest number with 470 cases, including 12 deaths. Iran has the most deaths outside of China with 26.
The global tally also includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which accounted for 705 cases, including four related deaths. Five Singaporeans who were on board the quarantined cruise ship have been allowed to disembark, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs last Friday.
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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