COVID-19: Singapore confirms 1 new case, an SIT uni student; 10 discharged

SIT campus along 10 Dover Drive. (SCREENCAP: Google Maps)
The SIT@Dover campus at 10 Dover Drive. (SCREENCAP: Google Maps)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (21 February) confirmed one new case of the COVID-19 coronavirus here, a 24-year-old Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) student, bringing the total to 86.

The Singaporean student is linked to a previous patient, a 57-year-old Singaporean woman who is the first here to be infected with both dengue and COVID-19. Both cases have not travelled to China recently.

Separately, 10 more patients have been discharged from the hospital, the highest in a single day so far. They include one Chinese national and nine Singaporeans:

  1. Case 3: 37-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan – the son of the first-ever confirmed case here

  2. Case 23: 17-year-old Singaporean man who evacuated from Wuhan on 30 January

  3. Case 27: 45-year-old Singaporean father of the youngest case here, a six-month-old baby boy

  4. Case 50: 62-year-old Singaporean man who works at DBS headquarters

  5. Case 51: 48-year-old Singaporean man who works at Grace Assembly of God

  6. Case 57: 26-year-old Singaporean man who works at Grace Assembly of God

  7. Case 63: 54-year-old Singaporean woman who works at the Public Utilities Board

  8. Case 70: 27-year-old Singaporean woman linked to Grace Assembly of God

  9. Case 83: 54-year-old Singaporean man linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore

  10. Case 84: 35-year-old Singaporean woman linked to Grace Assembly of God

This brings the total of those who have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged to 47, more than half of the total confirmed cases.

Of the 64 local transmissions, the MOH said that contact tracing is ongoing for eight of them to establish any links to previous cases or travel history to mainland China.

Case 86: Singapore Institute of Technology student

The 24-year-old Singaporean is a third-year Telematics student based in the SIT@Dover campus at 10 Dover Drive, said the university on Friday.

According to the MOH, he reported developing symptoms last Friday and had sought treatment at two general practitioner clinics two days later and on Tuesday.

He went to the emergency department at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on Wednesday and was immediately isolated.

He later tested positive for the virus on the afternoon of the next day and is currently warded in an isolation room at the hospital.

Prior to his hospital admission, he had mostly stayed at his home at Bukit Batok East Avenue 5 and had not gone to school since the onset of symptoms last Friday.

The university said that the student is “coping well” and that it will continue to be in touch with him.

“The student was last on campus in the late afternoon on 14 February, and has not come into contact with any other SIT student or staff since the onset of symptoms that night. He alerted us as soon as he learned that he was confirmed to be infected with COVID-19,” it added.

The school said that it has immediately placed students and staff who came into close contact with the patient, just before the onset of his symptoms, on a 14-day leave of absence as a precautionary measure.

All lecture theatres, seminar rooms, and laboratories used by the third-year Telematics cohort have been deep-cleansed and disinfected earlier on Friday, it added.

Other precautions taken by the university include requiring staff and students to take their temperature twice a day and declare it online if they are on campus as well as commencing e-learning for classes with more than 50 students from next Monday.

More details on case 85: Chinese national with no recent travel history to China

The MOH also provided more details on the 36-year-old male Chinese national who holds a Singapore work pass and did not recently travel to China.

He reported developing symptoms last Friday and had sought treatment at a general practitioner clinic on three occasions – the same day, two days later and Wednesday – as well as at Yishun polyclinic on Wednesday.

He was conveyed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in an ambulance on Wednesday and later tested positive for the virus the next morning.

Prior to his hospital admission, he had mostly stayed at his rental apartment at Woodlands Avenue 6, except to seek medical treatment.

He is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

5 in ICU; most remaining cases stable

On Friday, the ministry said that most of the 39 remaining patients in the hospital are stable or improving. Five, including a 39-year-old Bangladeshi national, remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

As of noon, 1,108 suspect cases have tested negative, while results for the remaining 67 are pending.

The MOH has also identified 2,696 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 1,122 are currently quarantined, while 1,574 have completed their quarantine.

MOH also 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.

COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of 21 February, 2020. (INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)
COVID-19 cases in Singapore as of 21 February, 2020. (INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)

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 31 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 fourth-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China, South Korea, and Japan.

The global tally includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which accounted for 634 cases and two deaths so far. Five Singaporeans aboard the ship have reported that they are physically well, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson last Wednesday, in response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries.

To date, the virus has left more than 2,200 people in China dead and sickened over 76,000 globally.

Fourteen deaths from the outbreak have been reported outside mainland China.

Four territories – Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, and South Korea – have each reported the death of a patient infected with the virus. South Korea and Hong Kong each have reported two deaths while Iran has confirmed four fatalities from the outbreak, the highest outside mainland China.

Japan announced that two of its nationals died in the hospital after leaving the Diamond Princess for treatment.

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.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)
(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)

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