Wuhan virus: Singapore confirms 3 more cases, 10 in total

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
A security officer seen wearing a face mask outside the Funan Mall on Monday (27 January). (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — Three more cases of the Wuhan virus have been confirmed in Singapore, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (29 January).

In a statement, MOH said that all three cases are Chinese nationals who travelled to Singapore from Wuhan and were asymptomatic during their flights. “This is consistent with our assessment that more imported cases are expected from Hubei province. There is currently no evidence of community spread in Singapore.”

According to the ministry, the eighth and ninth cases are a married couple, both aged 56 and Chinese nationals from Wuhan who arrived together in the Republic on 19 January. They are currently warded in isolation rooms at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

After developing symptoms last Friday, they took a taxi to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Monday. They were subsequently diagnosed with the coronavirus on Tuesday. Prior to hospital admission, they had stayed with their family at their home at Lorong Lew Lian.

The tenth case is a 56 year-old male Chinese national who arrived by air from Wuhan last Monday and is also being warded at NCID.

After developing symptoms last Tuesday, he was admitted to NCID on 28 January after being identified as a suspect case at a health screening station at Marina South Pier. Subsequent test results confirmed his infection the following day. Prior to hospital admission, he worked and lived on board a cargo vessel.

MOH said that the 10 cases are in stable condition, and most are improving.

Travel ban

(Wuhan virus outbreak in numbers infographic: Yahoo News Singapore)

The news follows the announcement on Tuesday of a travel ban for new visitors with recent travel history to Hubei within the last 14 days, which took effect from noon on Wednesday. Such individuals will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore

This also applies to those with Chinese passports issued in Hubei. For such travellers, there will be a suspension on issuance of all new visas, previously-issued short-term and multiple-visit visas, and visa-free transit facilities. The ban applies to land, sea and air travel.

The passengers who are affected by the ban and arrive in the Republic will be turned away, with their visas suspended. They will then have to make their own arrangements to fly out of Singapore.

Affected passengers who give false or inaccurate information in their travel history may be subject to penalties under the Infectious Diseases Act. A person who is convicted under the Act could be jailed up to six months and/or fined up to $10,000.

MOH has already started contract tracing for recent travellers to Hubei who are already in Singapore. There are an estimated 2,000 of them, with about 1,000 on short-term visas. Should they be assessed to be of high risk, they will be quarantined.

Returning Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei in the last 14 days will be quarantined, as will returning permanent residents and long-term pass holders with Chinese passports issued in Hubei.

Contact tracing

As of 2pm on Wednesday, apart from the 10 confirmed cases, 124 of the suspect cases have tested negative for the Wuhan virus while test results for the remaining 70 cases are pending.

Contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing. As of noon on Wednesday, MOH has identified 144 close contacts. Of the 115 who are still in Singapore, 111 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining four close contacts.

Click here for more stories on the developing Wuhan virus crisis: https://sg.news.yahoo.com/health/

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