SINGAPORE - There are three more confirmed cases of the coronavirus infection here, bringing the total number of those who have been infected to 50.
Two of the new cases announced on Wednesday (Feb 12) are Singaporeans with no travel history to China. Both went to Grace Assembly of God church's sites in Tanglin and Bukit Batok.
The third is a Singaporean, also with no recent travel history to China. He works for DBS Bank at Marina Bay Financial Centre (MBFC), which had earlier asked some of its staff to work from home.
So far, 15 patients have recovered, while 35 are still in hospital.
Eight are now in critical condition, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at a press conference on Wednesday.
Mr Gan, who co-chairs a multi-ministry task force, said: "While most infected patients will recover, some may become seriously ill and a small number may succumb to the infection ultimately. We have to be prepared for the worst."
Associate Professor Kenneth Mak, director of medical services at the Ministry of Health (MOH), said: "We have established several links to previous clusters... made possible with assistance from police."
There are now five known clusters.
Several cases are linked to Life Church and Missions in Paya Lebar.
There are also nine confirmed cases linked to the Yong Thai Hang medical stall cluster, associated with a tour group from China.
Another three confirmed cases are linked to a private business meeting at the Grand Hyatt Singapore. Two are linked to a worksite in Seletar Heights, and another two linked to the Grace Assembly of God church.
Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, co-chair of the task force, said: "Many people have asked how this situation will unfold over the next few weeks. We don't know, it's still early to tell. We really can't say whether it will get better or worse. We have shared several scenarios."
He added: "For now, what we know is the virus is circulating in our population, which is why we raised levels to orange."
There are also more cases that do not have links to China.
"We're going all out to try and isolate these clusters each time we see them forming," he said.
Mr Wong added: "But because we're stepping up our surveillance and doing more testing of cases, we can very well expect to see more cases coming up in the future, in the coming days and weeks.
"We don't know how successful we will be in all these containment measures... We will do our very best but if there is a need, we may very well have to do further measures that involve social distancing to reduce the risk of the virus spreading further."
Mr Gan also paid tribute to healthcare workers and, in particular, GPs. "They play a critical role in detecting and managing our patients, and they are our important partners at the front line," he said.
Following concerns over the supply of masks, Mr Gan said that one million masks will be distributed to the general practitioners and specialists.
As of noon on Feb 12, MOH has identified 1,090 close contacts. Of the 984 who are still in Singapore, 961 have been contacted and are being quarantined or isolated. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining 23 close contacts.