Wuhan virus: 2 more confirmed cases in Singapore, total at 30

Travellers in face masks at Jewel Changi Airport amid the global Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in January 2020. PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore
Travellers in face masks at Jewel Changi Airport amid the global Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in January 2020. PHOTO: Dhany Osman/Yahoo News Singapore

UPDATE: The confirmed case of the 41-year-old Singaporean had visited the Phoenix Medical Group (Seletar) clinic, which put up a statement informing its customers.

SINGAPORE — Two more cases of the novel coronavirus were confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (6 February), bringing the total to 30.

One case is a close contact of a previously confirmed case.

The other case has no recent travel history to mainland China and does not appear to be linked with previous cases. This case was confirmed late Wednesday and contact tracing is still in progress. The focus of the authorities is on identifying any links it may have with past cases or travellers from China.

One of the two new cases is a 41-year-old Singaporean man who has no recent travel history to mainland China. He was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital (MEN) on Monday.

Subsequent test results confirmed 2019-nCov infection on Wednesday at about 11pm. He has been transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) for further treatment and is currently warded in an isolation room.

He reported that he had a fever on 28 January, and visited a general practitioner (GP) clinic the next day. He sought treatment at another GP clinic on 30 January before being admitted to MEN on Monday.

Investigations and contact tracing are ongoing to identify individuals who had close contact with the case, and to establish any link he may have had with confirmed cases in Singapore or travellers from mainland China.

Around midnight on Thursday, the Phoenix Medical Group issued a statement to its customers saying that the 41-year-old Singaporean had visited its Seletar clinic twice, on 30 January and 3 February.

The clinic was made aware of the suspect case at around noon on Thursday for active contact tracing. It has assured its customers that all its rooms, corridors, table tops, seats and examinations couches have been deep cleansed since.

Furthermore, the physician who saw the patient has taken a voluntary 14-day leave of absence, even though he was healthy and was not order to go on home quarantine.

The other new case is a 27-year-old Singaporean man who has no recent travel history to mainland China.

He is one of the four Singapore residents who are being investigated at NCID after attending a private business meeting at Grand Hyatt Singapore from 20 to 22 January. The meeting included participants from China, including Hubei, and the confirmed cases from Malaysia and South Korea.

Subsequent test results confirmed his 2019-nCoV infection on Wednesday at about 2pm. He is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

Both new cases are stable.

Among the earlier 28 confirmed cases, one has been discharged. Of the remaining 27, most are stable or improving.

The condition of two patients has worsened. One is now in critical condition in the intensive care unit, and another requires additional oxygen support.

Test results for 147 suspected cases are pending.

As of Thursday, 12pm, MOH has identified 435 close contacts. Of the 353 who are still in Singapore, 348 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining five close contacts.

MOH also provided details on two of the four new cases announced on Wednesday.

A 45-year-old Singaporean man, the husband of a 28-year-old Singapore permanent resident who is also a previously confirmed case, had visited a GP clinic on 2 February and was subsequently isolated at the NCID on Tuesday.

Prior to hospital admission, he stayed at his home at Jalan Bukit Merah and worked as a private hire driver. He indicated that he had visited Tiong Bahru Plaza, Tiong Bahru Market and Beo Crescent Market and Food Centre.

“The risk of infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or in public places, is assessed to be low,” MOH said.

The couple were the parents of a six-month-old Singaporean baby boy, who was cared for at home and was not in any infant care facility prior to hospital admission. On Wednesday, MOH confirmed the infant’s infection of the virus and that he was warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

MOH said that all previously announced confirmed cases have been either mainland China travellers from Hubei, or individuals with links to these travellers. All such cases have been isolated and ring-fenced.

“But we must be prepared for the possibility of new infection clusters involving locals within the community, not linked with recent travel to China or contact with recent PRC travellers. This has already happened in several places outside of mainland China,” MOH said.

On Tuesday, MOH announced that four of six new confirmed cases are Singapore’s first confirmed cases of local transmission, thus constituting the first such infection cluster.

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