23 new coronavirus patients in S'pore a new high; 17 cases imported

Travellers arriving at Changi Airport on March 16, 2020. Of the 23 new Covid-19 cases announced on March 17 by the Ministry of Health, 17 are imported.
Travellers arriving at Changi Airport on March 16, 2020. Of the 23 new Covid-19 cases announced on March 17 by the Ministry of Health, 17 are imported.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE - Singapore has confirmed 23 new Covid-19 cases, including 17 that are imported, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Tuesday (March 17).

This is the highest number of new cases Singapore recorded in a day so far.

Seven out of 17 of the imported cases were Singaporeans. Five of the Singaporeans had travelled to Europe, currently the epicentre of the virus, and had been to countries such as Germany, France and Italy.

The authorities said on Tuesday that Singaporeans need to take the advice not to travel very seriously.

"We have already put out an advisory to put off non-essential travel, and called on people to defer travel plans," said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force set up to deal with the coronavirus.

"It puts everyone at risk, family members at risk, and everyone around you at risk," he said at a press conference.

The majority of imported cases - which form the bulk of recent Covid-19 cases detected in recent days - are Singaporeans, permanent residents and long-term pass holders, who have been overseas and come back.

Of the remaining cases announced on Tuesday, two are linked to previous ones, while four are unlinked.

This brings the total number of infected patients here to 266, of which 14 are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

 
 

Five more cases have been discharged, bringing the number of discharged and fully recovered cases to 114.

Singaporeans are advised to defer all non-essential travel abroad to reduce their risks of contracting the virus.

Mr Wong said that if people insist on travelling, they will have to take their own leave, should they need to comply with a stay-home notice for 14 days after returning.

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