All 7 new coronavirus cases in Singapore have no recent travel history to China

The National Centre for Infectious Diseases at Tan Tock Seng Hospital. The total number of coronavirus cases in Singapore has grown to 40. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - A taxi driver and a private-hire car driver are among the seven new coronavirus cases in Singapore announced by the Ministry of Health on Saturday (Feb 8).

None of the seven - six Singaporeans and a permanent resident - have recent travel history to China.

Among them, the taxi driver, 64, and private-hire car driver, 53, both Singaporeans, do not appear to have links to other cases.

MOH said on Saturday that it would continue to work with the Ministry of Transport to reach out to all taxi and private-hire car drivers on the steps they should take to protect themselves at work.

The other five patients are linked to previously announced cases, said MOH. They are:

- A 52-year-old woman who had visited The Life Church and Missions Singapore in Paya Lebar. Epidemiological investigations and contact tracing uncovered links with four earlier patients, making this a possible new cluster of five cases.

- A 40-year-old woman and a 36-year-old man, both employees at Yong Thai Hang in Lavender, bring the cluster linked to the medical products shop to nine cases so far.

- A 38-year-old woman who had been in Johor Bahru from Jan 25 to 28, and a 51-year-old man who was in Malaysia from Jan 23 to Feb 2, had both been at a business meeting at the Grand Hyatt Singapore over three days last month, bringing the total number of locals infected in that cluster to three. The meeting, which involved 109 company employees - 94 from overseas and 15 local - is also linked to a possible nine other cases in France, Britain, South Korea and Malaysia.

Responding to media queries on Saturday, the church said that it had engaged a professional cleaning company to disinfect its premises.

SPH Brightcove Video
In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, the Ministry of Health's contact tracing teams work two shifts, seven days a week, to find close contacts of patients. This is how contact tracing is carried out.

As a further precaution, it had decided to stop all its meetings for at least two weeks.

As of Saturday, the church had been locked, with entry allowed only to a few authorised personnel, it said.

Meanwhile, the Land Transport Authority said on Saturday that all transport operators had been advised to adopt measures such as deferring non-essential large-scale events and implementing regular temperature taking for staff.

It has also asked operators to intensify their cleaning and disinfection routines.

Taxi and private-hire car operators have been instructed to step up their cleaning efforts and drivers are advised to wind down their windows for ventilation after trips, it added.

In a Facebook post on Saturday, Senior Minister of State for Communications and Information Janil Puthucheary noted that MOH's announcement that a taxi driver and private-hire car driver were among the newly confirmed cases was understandably of concern to drivers, passengers and the Ministry of Transport.

"We will continue to work with our tripartite partners to help drivers, and to keep this service that many Singaporeans need running smoothly," he said.

For now, he said, drivers and their companies have stepped up the cleaning of their vehicles, and wind down their windows after trips for better ventilation.

There are guidelines on the wearing of masks when ferrying sick passengers, he added.

The total number of people infected here has grown to 40.

Two of the patients have been discharged, but four are now in critical condition and in the intensive care unit, said MOH in its latest update.

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