Wuhan virus outbreak: Singapore confirms three more cases, bringing total to 10

Seven cases had been confirmed by the health ministry previously.— TODAY pic
Seven cases had been confirmed by the health ministry previously.— TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 29 — Three more cases of the Wuhan coronavirus have been identified in Singapore, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 10.
In a press release today (Jan 29), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that all three cases are Chinese nationals who travelled to Singapore from Wuhan.

“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,” MOH said.

Seven cases had been confirmed by the health ministry previously.

New cases confirmed
The eighth and ninth confirmed cases are a 56-year-old female and 56-year-old male respectively.

The married couple are both Chinese nationals from Wuhan who arrived together in Singapore on Jan 19 and are warded in isolation rooms at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

Both cases reported that they were asymptomatic during the flight to Singapore. They developed symptoms on Jan 24, and took a taxi to Tan Tock Seng Hospital on Jan 27.

They were classified as suspect cases and immediately isolated at NCID.

Subsequent test results confirmed Wuhan coronavirus infection on Jan 28 at about 11pm and Jan 29 at about 2pm respectively.

Prior to hospital admission, the cases stayed with their family at their home at Lorong Lew Lian in Upper Serangoon, the MOH said in its statement.

MOH added that the 10th confirmed case is a 56 year-old male Chinese national who arrived in Singapore from Wuhan on Jan 20, and who is warded in an isolation room at NCID.

The case reported that he was asymptomatic during his flight to Singapore. He developed symptoms on Jan 21, and was admitted to NCID on Jan 28 after being identified as a suspect case at a health screening station at Marina South Pier.

Subsequent test results confirmed Wuhan coronavirus infection on Jan 29 at about 2pm.

“Prior to hospital admission, the case worked and lived on board a cargo vessel,” said the MOH.

MOH has since initiated epidemiological investigations and contact tracing to identify individuals who had close contact with the cases.

Stable conditions on three new cases
The three new cases are stable, the MOH said, adding that the ministry is continuing to monitor their health.

“As for the seven previously announced cases, all of them remain in stable condition, and most are improving,” MOH said.

Update on suspected cases
As of midday on Wednesday, the MOH said that 124 of the suspect cases have tested negative for the Wuhan coronavirus, and eight have tested positive, with cases nine and 10 confirmed at about 2pm. Test results for the remaining 70 cases are pending.

Contact tracing ongoing
The MOH added that contact tracing for the confirmed cases is ongoing.

Once identified, MOH will closely monitor all close contacts.

As a precautionary measure, they will be quarantined for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient, said the MOH.

In addition, all other identified contacts who have a low risk of being infected will be under active surveillance, and will be contacted daily to monitor their health status.

The ministry added that as of midday on Wednesday, 144 close contacts have been identified

“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,” said the MOH.

Health advisory
In its statement, the MOH said that Singaporeans are advised to defer all travel to Hubei province and all non-essential travel to mainland China.

All travellers should also monitor their health closely for two weeks upon return to Singapore and seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell.

Travellers should inform their doctor of their travel history. If they have a fever or respiratory symptoms (e.g. cough, shortness of breath), they should wear a mask and call the clinic ahead of the visit.

The MOH added that it will continue to monitor the situation closely.

“As medical practitioners are on the lookout for cases with pneumonia who have recently been in China, Singapore is likely to see more suspect cases that will need to be investigated for possible links to the Wuhan cluster,” said MOH. — TODAY

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