Wuhan virus outbreak: Second suspected case not linked to China cluster

In this 4 January, 2020, file photo, a health surveillance officer monitors passengers arriving at the Hong Kong International airport in Hong Kong. (PHOTO: AP)

UPDATE: Adding Ministry of Health statement issued on Saturday (11 January) evening saying that the case is not linked to the Wuhan cluster.  

SINGAPORE — Tests have confirmed that the second suspect case reported on 10 January, involving a 26-year-old male Chinese national with pneumonia, is not linked to the Wuhan cluster in China.

In a statement issued at 8.15pm on Saturday (11 January), the Ministry of Health (MOH) also said that the man had tested negative for coronavirus.

When it was reported to the ministry on Friday (10 January), it said that the man, who had travelled to Wuhan, had been isolated as a precautionary measure and was in stable condition.

“The suspect case has not visited the Huanan seafood wholesale market associated with the cluster of pneumonia in Wuhan,” the MOH had said.

The MOH said it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Last Sunday, a three-year-old female Chinese national with pneumonia, who had also travelled to Wuhan, was similarly isolated as a precautionary measure.

She later tested negative for the virus and was instead diagnosed with Respiratory Syncytial Virus, a common cause of childhood respiratory infection.

Experts in China had "preliminarily determined" that a new type of coronavirus – belonging to the same family as Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) – was behind the outbreak that has struck 59 people in the country with no death reported.

The World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed the preliminary discovery of a new coronavirus in a statement.

"Further investigations are also required to determine the source, modes of transmission, extent of infection and countermeasures implemented," said WHO Representative to China Gauden Galea.

No obvious evidence of human-to-human transmission has been reported so far.

News of the virus’ spread has seen countries such as Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam conducting temperature screenings on passengers arriving from Wuhan.

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