Coronavirus: 2 new cases in S'pore, including Certis officer who had served quarantine orders on 2 who tested positive

Since the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Singapore on Jan 23, 2020, several clusters of patients believed to have been infected via local transmissions have emerged. ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

SINGAPORE - There are two new coronavirus cases in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday evening (Feb 10), bringing the total number of cases here to 45.

Seven of those infected are now in critical condition and in the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, a total of seven have been discharged, MOH added.

One of the new cases is a 37-year-old Singaporean man who works at Certis and had been on duty at Chingay. This year's Chingay took place from Jan 31 to Feb 1. Before developing symptoms, he had served quarantine orders on two individuals from Wuhan who had subsequently tested positive for the virus.

He reported symptoms on Jan 31, and had sought treatment at a general practitioner clinic on Feb 2. On Feb 6, he went to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where he was immediately isolated. Test results confirmed he had the virus on Feb 9. He did not serve any quarantine orders after developing symptoms. He lives at Sembawang Drive.

MOH has said that for the general public, the risk of infection from transient contact, such as on public transport or in public places, is assessed to be low.

A Certis spokesman told The Straits Times that the safety of employees is a top priority. She added: "We are focused on providing all necessary assistance to the affected employee and his family. We are currently assisting the authorities with their investigations."

The other case is a two-year-old Singaporean girl who was evacuated from Wuhan on Jan 30 on a Scoot flight. She did not have symptoms when she boarded the flight back to Singapore and was quarantined upon landing. She was subsequently confirmed to have the virus on Monday (Feb 10).

In the update, MOH said that it has identified 1,026 close contacts as of Monday noon. Of the 927 who are still in Singapore, 896 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 31 close contacts.

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Since the first confirmed case of coronavirus in Singapore on Jan 23, several clusters of patients believed to have been infected via local transmissions have emerged, after an initial period where confirmed patients were all tourists from Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

These include three Singapore residents who attended an intenational business conference at Grand Hyatt hotel from Jan 20 to 22, which has sparked an international search to trace more than 100 people at the meeting.

Malaysia, South Korea and the United Kingdom have all reported patients who are believed to have contracted the coronavirus then, and the World Health Organisation has said that it is working with countries' health ministries to investigate the incident.

The other local transmission clusters that have been identified are five people linked to the Life Church and Missions in Paya Lebar, and nine people who are understood to have come into contact with those infected at Yong Thai Hang health products store in Cavan Road, which a tour group from Guangxi visited on Jan 23.

On Friday (Feb 7), Singapore moved its disease outbreak response up a level to orange as the coronavirus spread further within the country, with more new cases of unknown origin announced.

Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (Dorscon), orange is one step below red, which signifies an out-of-control pandemic. At orange, the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact, but the situation is still under control.

Extra measures to reduce mingling in schools, tighten access to hospitals and limit large events have since been put in place.

China's National Health Commission (NHC) said on Monday the death toll rose to 908, as employees began trickling back to offices and factories around China after the government eased some restrictions on work and travel.

Across mainland China, there were 3,062 new confirmed infections as of Sunday, bringing the total number so far to 40,171.

China's Foreign Ministry said that 27 foreigners in the country have been confirmed infected with the new coronavirus as of Monday morning, and two - one American and one Japanese - had died.

Currently, the mortality rate of the virus in China is 2 per cent, but the mortality rate outside Hubei province is 0.2 per cent.

This means that the fatality rate for the coronavirus is nearer to that for the seasonal flu (0.1 per cent) than that for Sars (10 per cent) and Mers (35 per cent).


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