Singapore confirmed three new cases of the novel coronavirus, now called COVID-19, on Wednesday (Feb 12) and identified two new clusters of infection — the Grace Assembly of God church and the Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site.
Six patients were discharged from hospital, raising the number of released patients to 15.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, speaking at a press conference held by the multi-ministry task force, noted that two of the three new cases are Singapore citizens who do not have any recent travel history to China but have connections to the Grace Assembly of God church. Both visited church sites in Tanglin and Bukit Batok.
The third case is a Singapore citizen who also does not have any recent travel history to China. He is a DBS employee who worked at the Marina Bay Financial Centre office.
The new cases
Case 48 is a 34-year-old male Singaporean with no recent travel history to China. However, he did travel to Malaysia on Jan 26. His symptoms began on Feb 1 and, after seeking treatment at four general practitioners, he went to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Feb 10.
He was confirmed to be positive on Feb 11. Before being admitted, he had visited Plaza Singapura, Star Vista and Fusionopolis. He also worked at Grace Assembly of God (Tanglin) and Grace Assembly of God (Bukit Batok). He stays in Bukit Batok Street 25. He is warded in an isolation room at the NCID.
Case 49 is a 46-year-old male Singaporean with no recent travel history to China. He reported symptoms on Feb 3 and sought treatment at a GP. On Feb 8, he went to the Emergency Department at the National University Hospital (NUH) but was discharged on the same day. On Feb 10, he was admitted to NUH. Test results for COVID-19 on Feb 11 showed that he was infected with the virus.
Prior to being admitted to hospital, he had gone to work at Grace Assembly of God (Tanglin) and Grace Assembly of God (Bukit Batok). He stays at Toh Guan Road. He is warded in an isolation room at the NCID.
Case 50 is a 62-year-old male Singaporean with no recent travel history to China. He was confirmed to be positive with COVID-19 infection on the morning of Wednesday (Feb 12). Before being admitted to hospital, he worked at DBS Asia Central at the Marina Bay Financial Centre. He is warded in an isolation room at NCID.
The MOH is currently conducting epidemiological investigations and contact tracing to identify persons who had close contact with the confirmed cases.
The confirmed cases
The six cases who were discharged are patients 4, 12, 25, 29, 34 and 40. Mr Gan said that of the 50 confirmed cases, most are stable and showing signs of improvement, while eight are considered to be in critical condition. They are being treated in intensive care units.
Most of the infected patients will recover but some may become seriously ill, said Mr Gan. He added that there is a possibility that a small number of patients may not be able to fight off the infection and that Singapore should “prepare for the worst”.
New clusters identified
The MOH’s Director of Medical Services, Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, spoke on the linkages between cases and certain places where people meet, including a cluster linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore in Paya Lebar Road and a cluster linked to a meeting at Grand Hyatt in Scotts Road.
Dr Mak advised people to keep a close watch on their health, to see a doctor if they are not well and to discontinue social activities should any symptoms arise.
“Don’t doctor hop,” he added, noting that this makes it difficult for doctors to accurately diagnose patients. He also emphasised that wearing a mask is not as vital as keeping one’s hands and area clean, especially commonly-touched surfaces like mobile phones.
Cases 8 and 9, as well as Cases 31, 33 and 38, are connected to The Life Church and Missions Singapore (146B Paya Lebar Road).
Three of the confirmed cases (Cases 30, 36 and 39) are connected to the private business meeting at the Grand Hyatt Singapore from Jan 20 to 22.
Two of the confirmed cases (Cases 48 and 49) are connected to the Grace Assembly of God.
Nine of the confirmed cases (Cases 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 28, 34 and 40) are linked to the cluster associated with the Yong Thai Hang medical shop (24 Cavan Road).
Two of the confirmed cases (Cases 42 and 47) are linked to the Seletar Aerospace Heights construction site.