Wuhan virus: 2 new confirmed cases in Singapore, bringing total to 7; no entry or transit for new visitors from Hubei

People wearing masks around the premises of National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Jan 28, 2020.
People wearing masks around the premises of National Centre for Infectious Diseases on Jan 28, 2020.ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - Two new cases of Wuhan virus have been confirmed in Singapore, bringing the total number of infected people here to seven, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday (Jan 28).

With three confirmed cases within the last 24 hours, the trend of infection among Chinese nationals from Wuhan's Hubei province in Singapore is accelerating, in line with the sharp increase in global infection rates, said the ministry.

This presents a heightened risk to Singapore, although there is as yet no evidence that the virus has spread in the community.

So new restrictions will include no entry or transit for travellers with passports issued in Hubei or those who have travelled there recently.

In addition, there are about 2,000 recent travellers from Hubei who are in Singapore, and those assessed to be of higher risk and with a recent travel history to Hubei will be quarantined.

Quarantine orders have legal force, with severe penalties for non-compliance, including possible jail time.

Announcing enhanced measures on Tuesday, the authorities said that they apply to three groups: recent travellers from Hubei already in Singapore; returning residents of Singapore or long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei or with China passports issued in Hubei, and new visitors with a travel history to Hubei or China passports issued in Hubei.

Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, is the capital city of Hubei province.

For the first group - recent travellers from Hubei already in Singapore - the ministry has started contacting individuals with Hubei travel history and China nationals with Hubei passports.

There are an estimated 2,000 such individuals here, about 1,000 are on short-term visit passes. Half are visitors and half are residents.

Those assessed to be at higher risk will be quarantined.

 
 

For the second group - returning residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to Hubei or with China passports issued in Hubei - they will be quarantined on their return.

And from noon on Wednesday (Jan 29), there will be no entry or transit through Singapore for all new visitors with recent Hubei travel history within the last 14 days, or holders of China passports issued in Hubei - the third group in question.

With immediate effect, those with China passports issued in Hubei will have a suspension of issuance of all forms of new visas, previously issued short-term visit passes and multiple-visit visas, and visa-free transit facility.

Like the previous five cases, the two new patients are from Wuhan.

One is a 56-year-old Chinese national, who arrived in Singapore on Jan 19.

He developed a cough on Jan 25, and went to Changi General Hospital on Sunday.

 
 

He tested positive for the novel coronavirus at 11pm on Jan 27.

Before that, he had been staying with family members at their home in Pasir Ris Grove.

The second is a 35-year-old man, also a Chinese national from Wuhan.

He arrived in Singapore on Jan 23, and was staying at Marina Bay Sands. He developed symptoms on Jan 24, and went to Raffles Hospital, where he was transferred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases.

He tested positive at 11pm on Jan 27.