NUS: Faculty member from SDE tested positive for COVID-19

(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — A National University of Singapore (NUS) faculty member has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus, NUS said in a statement on Thursday (13 February).

The Singaporean professor from the School of Design & Environment (SDE) did not have any recent contact with students, with his last contact with students on 5 February, NUS said. He attends the Grace Assembly of God church. 

“Staff who were in close contact with the professor were swiftly put on Leave of Absence and we are providing them with assistance and support. We have also immediately enhanced our cleaning efforts and precautionary measures.” 

The professor, who has no recent travel history to China, is in stable condition and currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

As part of its precautionary measures, NUS will implement e-learning for all classes in SDE from Friday to 21 February 2020, until the recess week kicks in from 22 February to 1 March. 

“We are doing everything we can to keep everyone on our campuses safe and healthy,” NUS said.

In a statement to staff and students, NUS President Professor Tan Eng Chye said upon being alerted that the academic was infected, NUS thoroughly disinfected the areas he had used or visited in SDE on Monday before he developed symptoms. These include hand railings, lifts, and lift lobbies around the affected premises.

NUS has immediately ramped up the frequency of cleaning at SDE, including at the school’s studios, high traffic areas and toilets.

Since the start of the COVID-19 situation, NUS has implemented precautionary measures across campuses including strict compliance with the Leave of Absence requirements, twice daily temperature taking for staff and students, stepping up cleaning of areas with high traffic, moving all classes with more than 50 students to e-learning, and cancelling or delaying events and activities involving more than 50 people.

The announcement comes less than an hour after the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed eight new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of cases here to 58.

Five of the new cases are linked to the Grace Assembly of God cluster, while two are linked to the cluster at Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site, said MOH.

The remaining case is a family member of a DBS employee, who tested positive for the virus on Wednesday.

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