Coronavirus: After 2 cases, Yong Thai Hang health products shop closed as more than 10 workers quarantined

Two Yong Thai Hang workers, a 28-year-old woman and a 48-year-old woman, are among the first four cases of local transmission of the coronavirus with no travel history to Wuhan. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Yong Thai Hang, the Chinese health products shop in Lavender with two employees who are confirmed coronavirus cases, will not reopen until the situation takes a turn for the better.

The shop owner said more than 10 of his other employees have since been quarantined, according to a report by Chinese-language evening daily Shin Min Daily News on Wednesday (Feb 5).

The two workers, a 28-year-old woman and a 48-year-old woman, are among the first four cases of local transmission of the coronavirus with no travel history to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, said the Ministry of Health on Tuesday.

The other two cases are a 32-year-old tour guide who had taken Chinese tour groups to Yong Thai Hang, and a 44-year-old Indonesian maid who worked for one of the affected employees.

The shop owner said his store, which caters to Chinese tour groups, has been closed since Feb 1, as his employees had been concerned about getting infected.

After Wuhan, the capital of China's Hubei province, was placed on lockdown by the Chinese authorities on Jan 23, all his employees were instructed to wear masks, and the shop's premises were disinfected daily, he added.

He estimated his losses to date at more than several tens of thousands of dollars. But the important thing now is that his employees can recover soon, he said.

Some people who have had contact with the new cases on Tuesday have been quarantined.

The female Singaporean tour guide, who did not want to be named, told Shin Min that her husband was also quarantined in a hospital, while her Primary 2 son was quarantined at home, along with a maid and a relative who are taking care of him.

She had gone to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Monday as a precaution after she found out that a father-daughter pair in a tour group from Guangxi, China, had been diagnosed with the coronavirus after returning home.

She said that she had spent about 12 hours with the group of 19 and took them to various tourist attractions. The group had travelled in a private tour bus.

The 28-year-old Yong Thai Hang employee who was affected said the tour group spent about 30 minutes in the shop.

While the tourists and sales staff are usually separated by a counter, the Singapore permanent resident said that she would occasionally apply medicated oil on their arms as part of the job.

The Ministry of Health said on Tuesday that the woman had developed a sore throat and fever on Jan 29 and was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital last Thursday, but was discharged from hospital after her chest X-ray result did not indicate she had pneumonia.

She did not leave her home in Jalan Bukit Merah from Friday to Sunday and was admitted to the Singapore General Hospital on Monday, along with her maid, who also tested positive for the virus.

Although she had prepared herself for the diagnosis, the woman, who is married with a son, said she was shocked.

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"I cried, not just because I was worried about myself. I was worried about my family, and felt guilty for infecting someone else," she told Shin Min.

She added that the maid had been working with the family for only a few months.

Her husband and son have since been quarantined as well, she said.

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