COVID-19: Singapore confirms 5 new cases including Frenchman; new SAFRA Jurong cluster; total 117

Members of the public at a traffic junction in Singapore. (PHOTO: Ore Huiying/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (5 March) confirmed five new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to 117.

Four of the new cases are linked to a new cluster involving a dinner event at SAFRA Jurong while the remaining case was a 42-year-old Frenchman who reported symptoms while on a flight on Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Singapore.

Two more patients have been discharged from the hospital. This brings the total of those who have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged to 81.

Case 113: 42-year-old Frenchman

The 42-year-old male French national is an imported case who is a Singapore Work Pass holder. He has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions but had been in France, Portugal and the UK between 8 February and 3 March. He is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). 

He reported onset of symptoms on Tuesday during his flight on Turkish Airlines from Istanbul to Singapore. He presented at NCID on Wednesday. Subsequent test results confirmed his COVID-19 infection on Wednesday afternoon.

Prior to hospital admission, he had visited Gleneagles Hospital for an unrelated matter. He stays in the Mount Sophia area. 

Case 114: 62-year-old Singaporean man

The 62-year-old male Singaporean man, who has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions, is warded in an isolation room at the National University Hospital (NUH). He is a family member of Case 115, a 62-year-old Singaporean woman, and is linked to the cluster involving a private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong. 

He reported onset of symptoms on 28 February and had sought treatment at a general practitioner (GP) clinic on 29 February. He presented at the emergency department at NUH on Tuesday. Subsequent test results confirmed his COVID-19 infection on Wednesday afternoon.

Prior to hospital admission, he had mostly stayed at his home in the Westwood Avenue area. 

Case 115: 62-year-old Singaporean woman

The 62-year-old Singaporean woman, who has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions, was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Thursday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at NUH. She is a family member of Case 114, a 62-year-old Singaporean man, and is linked to the cluster involving a private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong. 

Case 116

The 50-year-old Singaporean woman, who has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions, was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Thursday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. She is linked to the cluster involving a private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong.

Case 117

The 52-year-old Singaporean woman has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions but had been in Malaysia on 1 March. She was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Thursday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID. She is linked to the cluster involving a private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong.

More details on Case 112: 62-year-old Singaporean woman

The 62-year-old Singaporean woman, who has no recent travel history to affected countries and regions, is warded in an isolation room at NCID.

She is linked to the cluster involving a private dinner function at SAFRA Jurong.

She reported onset of symptoms on 21 February and had sought treatment at Bukit Batok Polycinic on the same day and on 25 February, as well as three GP clinics on 21 February, 23 February, 27 Febuary and 1 March.

As she had been identified as a contact of Case 94, a 64-year-old Singaporean woman, she was referred by MOH to NCID on Tuesday and was isolated.

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

She had gone to work on 21 February at Creative O Preschoolers’ Bay in International Business Park) where she is a non-teaching staff. She had left the centre a few hours into her shift, and has not been back since.

7 in ICU; most remaining cases stable

On Wednesday, MOH said that most of the 36 remaining patients in the hospital are stable or improving. Seven remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

As of noon, the ministry has identified 3,291 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 381 are currently quarantined, and 2,910 have completed their quarantine.

MOH advises Singaporeans to defer all travel to Hubei province, home to Wuhan where the virus originated, and all non-essential travel to mainland China, South Korea, northern Italy, Iran and Japan.

COVID-19’s death toll mounts around the world

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 85 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 3,000 people in China dead and sickened over 96,000 globally. 291 deaths related to the outbreak have been reported outside mainland China.

At 5,766 confirmed infections including 36 deaths, South Korea has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China. Iran has the third-highest number with 3,513 cases. Italy has the fourth highest number with 3,089 cases. Both Iran and Italy has each reported 107 deaths - the most outside of China.

The global tally also includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which accounted for 706 cases, including six related deaths so far. Five Singaporeans who were on board the quarantined cruise ship have been allowed to disembark it.

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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