Coronavirus: 58-year-old hairdresser attended to about 10 customers while ill

The woman is linked to the dinner event attended by about 200 people on Feb 15, 2020, at the Joy Garden restaurant at Safra Jurong. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The 58-year-old hairdresser who was one of 12 confirmed new coronavirus cases in Singapore on Sunday (March 8) attended to customers after developing symptoms, but said she wore a mask at all times.

The woman, who works from her home in Jurong West Street 74, first reported symptoms last Tuesday and was confirmed to have the virus on Saturday. She is linked to the Safra Jurong dinner cluster, which has 30 cases as of Sunday.

She told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao on Sunday that she attended to about 10 customers from Tuesday to Saturday. The woman, who did not want to be named, said she started to have a blocked nose on Tuesday and informed her customers that she was not feeling very well prior to their appointments.

"Some of them I told over the phone (that I was sick), and the rest I told them when they arrived at my house. But most of them said they were not worried," she said.

"I normally wear a mask for hygiene reasons when cutting hair anyway, and that was what I did then."

The woman went to see a doctor on Tuesday, and again two days later.

"I don't normally go to see the family doctor for minor illnesses but given the current situation, I thought it was best to be careful," she said.

"But both times I went, the doctor just said that my throat was a little swollen, and that it was probably just a regular cold. My throat didn't hurt, and I also wasn't coughing."

Still ill at ease, she went to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital on Saturday, which confirmed that she had the virus.

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The hairdresser said that she has been helping the Ministry of Health get in touch with all of the affected customers.

"I was quite worried what my customers might say but they didn't blame me and many, in fact, tried to console me, saying that they knew I took the appropriate precautions," she said.

She experienced a slight fever after being admitted to hospital but is now better. She has not been discharged yet as doctors are still running checks on her.

The woman is linked to the dinner event attended by about 200 people on Feb 15 at the Joy Garden restaurant at Safra Jurong.

There are 150 confirmed cases in Singapore to date, of which 90 have fully recovered and been discharged from hospital. No patients were discharged on Sunday.

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