Singapore has recorded its first cases of local coronavirus transmission, with four women here infected who had not travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.
All four cases are related to a Chinese health products shop.
Two of the women work in the shop, which is in Cavan Road, off Lavender Street. It is said to be patronised mainly by Chinese tour groups.
The third is a domestic helper of one of the women, while the fourth is a tour guide who had taken groups to the shop.
Singapore’s confirmed cases of those infected by the coronavirus are now up by six, to total 24.
Along with the four women who contracted the coronavirus, another two confirmed cases were announced on Tuesday (Feb 4).
The two were among a group of 92 people flown back to Singapore from Wuhan on a Scoot flight last Thursday. Before this, another two on the same flight had been reported as confirmed cases.
One of the confirmed cases (the seventh), a 35-year-old Wuhan resident, has recovered and has tested negative for the virus. He was discharged from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Tuesday.
At a press conference on Tuesday (Feb 4), the Health Ministry referred to the new cases as “limited local transmission”.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong added that “there is, however, no widespread evidence of widespread community transmission”.
He said that, should broader community spread occur, Singapore will consider additional measures to reduce human-to-human interaction, such as cancelling mass gatherings, suspending schools, and paring down non-essential care services, to slow the spread of disease.
Mr Gan added that the country has been preparing for such clusters, and measures implemented so far have been directed towards preventing and containing the risk of spread beyond such local clusters.
While the ministry expects more local clusters, it has also started contact tracing so as to ringfence the cluster and limit further spread.
“This is a scenario which we are prepared for,” Mr Gan said, adding that, “as the situation evolves we will step up our posture accordingly to further contain the situation in Singapore”. /TISG
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