SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed on Wednesday (Jan 29) three new cases in Singapore of the Wuhan virus, bringing the total to 10. All are Chinese nationals from Wuhan.
The ministry said that this was “consistent with our assessment that more imported cases are expected from Hubei province” and added that “there is currently no evidence of community spread in Singapore”.
Coincidentally, all three cases are 56-year-olds.
The eighth and ninth cases
The eighth and ninth cases are a man and his wife who arrived in Singapore on Jan 19. Both reportedly showed no symptoms of the virus during the flight but began to experience them on Jan 24.
They had been staying with family members at their house in Lorong Lew Lian. On Monday (Jan 27), they took a taxi to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. They were classified as suspect cases and immediately placed in isolation rooms at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
After tests, a diagnosis of the Wuhan coronavirus infection was confirmed for both of them. They have been placed in quarantine at the NCID.
The tenth case
The tenth confirmed case is another 56-year-old, a man who arrived in Singapore on Jan 20 from Wuhan.
The man said he did not display any symptoms during his flight. However, after being labelled a suspect case at a health screening station at Marina South Pier, he was admitted and warded in an isolation room at the NCID on Tuesday (Jan 28).
Subsequent test results confirmed that he was infected with the Wuhan coronavirus. He had been working and living on board a cargo vessel.
According to MOH, the three new cases are being monitored and in stable condition.
It has initiated epidemiological investigations and contact tracing to identify any persons who had close contact with the cases before they were admitted to hospital.
The first seven cases
The ministry said the first seven patients are in stable condition, and most of them have shown signs of improvement.
As of noon on Wednesday (Jan 29), it announced that there were 70 test results for suspected cases pending.
The MOH is in the midst of contact tracing for the confirmed cases.
When such a person is identified, it closely monitors the person’s health for any signs of symptoms of the virus and, as a necessary precaution, places that person under quarantine for 14 days from last exposure to the infected person.
Individuals identified as having a low risk of being infected will be checked as well, with the ministry contacting them daily to collect data on their health status.
So far, as at noon on Wednesday (Jan 29), the MOH had identified a total of 144 close contacts to infected patients. Of the 144, only 115 are still in Singapore. The ministry has already made contact with 111 close contacts, and they are currently being quarantined or isolated.
It is still working towards finding and contacting the remaining four close contacts so that they can be monitored.
Travel ban in place
On Tuesday (Jan 28), the Government placed a travel restriction on visitors who have travelled to Hubei, where Wuhan is located, in the last two weeks or have passports issued in the province. Such persons are currently not allowed to enter Singapore.
The ban applies to all forms of travel, whether by land, sea or air. Any passengers affected by the restriction who arrive in Singapore will be turned away, with their visas to the country suspended. They will then need to fly out of Singapore immediately.
Passengers who give inaccurate or false information about their travel history face penalties under the Infectious Diseases Act. Anyone convicted could face jail of up to six months and/or a fine of up to S$10,000. /TISG
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