SINGAPORE, Jan 23 — A Chinese national who arrived in Singapore on Jan 20 has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in the city-state, said Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) today.
He is currently warded in an isolation room in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and is in a stable condition.
The patient is a resident of Wuhan, the ground zero of a virus outbreak that has so far killed 17 people in China. The novel coronavirus has also spread to Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, which confirmed its first case yesterday.
The 66-year-old male arrived in Singapore from Guangzhou via a China Southern flight at 10.40pm on Monday. He was travelling with nine other companions.
He developed a fever and cough the next day.
When he arrived at the SGH Emergency Department yesterday evening, he was immediately admitted and isolated, and has remained isolated since. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and was identified as a suspect case, and MOH was notified.
This evening, he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.
MOH said the patient did not visit the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, before he flew to Singapore.
While in Singapore, the Wuhan resident travelled via a chartered car from Changi Airport to his hotel at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort.
He remained in the vicinity of his hotel throughout his entire stay and he took a taxi to the SGH Emergency Department.
MOH has started contact tracing to identify those who have had close contact with the man. This includes his nine travelling companions, and 30 other flight passengers who sat two rows in front and behind him on the plane. One of them is his son, who accompanied him to SGH and has been warded.
They will be contacted by MOH, quarantined and monitored for the next 14 days since their last contact with the patient to see whether any symptoms would develop.
MOH has also found another Chinese national who tested positive for the coronavirus during the first sample test. The result of a second confirmatory test is pending.
This potential patient is a 53-year-old female who is also from Wuhan.
MOH was notified of the case this morning at about 3am. She is currently at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and her condition is stable.
More suspect cases have been identified since the MOH took additional precautionary measures yesterday by expanding the definition of who would be considered suspect cases.
There are currently 28 suspect cases, out of which seven have been ruled out, one is confirmed and another is pending the result of a second confirmatory test.
MOH said it will take every measure to contain the possible spread of the virus as Singapore expects more imported cases due to the large number of cases in China and the high travel volume from China to Singapore.
It also advised Singaporeans to avoid travelling to Hubei province, expanding its travel advisory to beyond just the city of Wuhan but the whole province where the city is situated in.
Border screening will also be carried out at land and sea checking points, beyond just at Changi Airport. — TODAY