Wuhan coronavirus outbreak: No new confirmed cases in Singapore

Shoppers in Singapore put on masks as they shop in Chinatown Lunar New Year bazaar. (PHOTO: Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The number of confirmed cases of Wuhan coronavirus infection in Singapore stayed at four, with no new cases reported as of 12pm on Sunday (26 January).

However, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a media release that the number of suspect cases has increased to 92, of which 46 have tested negative for the Wuhan coronavirus. Test results for the remaining 42 cases are pending.

Risk of infection from transient contact is low

The fourth confirmed case – announced on early Sunday morning – involves a 36 year-old male Chinese national from Wuhan who is being treated in an isolation ward at Sengkang General Hospital.

Prior to hospital admission on 24 January, the patient stayed at Village Hotel Sentosa and indicated that he had visited Universal Studios Singapore and Vivocity. He had also travelled on public transport, including taxi.

MOH said that the risk of infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or public spaces, is assessed to be low.

However, nine individuals have been identified as close contacts of the case. As of Sunday noon, eight have been contacted, and are being quarantined. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining close contact.

115 close contacts from confirmed cases

Contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing. Once identified, MOH will closely monitor all close contacts. As a precautionary measure, they will be quarantined for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient.

In addition, all other identified contacts who have a low risk of being infected will be under active surveillance, and will be contacted daily to monitor their health status.

As of Sunday noon, MOH has identified 115 close contacts from the four confirmed cases. Of the 86 who are still in Singapore, 66 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 20 close contacts.

Precautions to take

Singaporeans are advised not to travel to the whole of Hubei Province. MOH also advises Singaporeans to continue to exercise caution and attention to personal hygiene when travelling to the rest of China.

All travellers should monitor their health closely for two weeks upon return to Singapore and seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell.

Travellers should inform their doctor of their travel history. If they have a fever or respiratory symptoms – such as cough or shortness of breath – they should wear a mask and call the clinic ahead of the visit.

Travellers and members of the public should adopt the following precautions at all times:

  • Avoid contact with live animals including poultry and birds, and consumption of raw and undercooked meats;

  • Avoid crowded places and close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness;

  • Observe good personal hygiene;

  • Practise frequent hand washing with soap (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing);

  • Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath;

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately;

  • Seek medical attention promptly if you are feeling unwell.

MOH will continue to monitor the situation closely. As medical practitioners are on the lookout for cases with pneumonia who have recently been in China, Singapore is likely to see more suspect cases that will need to be investigated for possible links to the Wuhan cluster.