On Wednesday (February 5), the Ministry of Health (MOH) confirmed four additional cases of the novel coronavirus, including a six-month-old Singaporean baby boy.
Because of this development, Singapore is now the country with the second-highest number of confirmed cases outside mainland China, behind Japan.
Virus Cases Goes Up to 28; 4 New Cases Confirmed Including Infant
According to a report shared by Yahoo! Singapore News, three of the four new cases are linked to the country’s first batch of local transmission announced on Tuesday, while the fourth one is a Chinese tourist from Wuhan. All four cases are stable.
The baby – currently the youngest confirmed case in Singapore – and a 45-year-old man is, respectively, the son and husband of a 28-year-old female Singapore permanent resident who works at Yong Thai Heng, a health products shop in Cavan Road popular with Chinese tourists.
The woman and her colleague, a 32-year-old Singaporean woman, were among four cases of local transmission announced by the MOH on February 4 (Tuesday), which included a Singaporean tour guide who brought Chinese tourist groups to the shop.
According to the report, the trio had close contact with a group of travelers from Guangxi, of whom at least two have been confirmed to be infected with the virus, also known as 2019-nCoV. The fourth case confirmed on Tuesday was the 28-year-old woman’s Indonesian foreign domestic maid.
The Singaporean man tested positive for the virus on Wednesday (February 5), and is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).
Meanwhile, the infant tested positive for the virus on the same day and is currently warded in an isolation room at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) also reported that of the 23 cases – one has since been discharged – most are stable or improving, except for one patient who requires additional oxygen support but is not in the intensive care unit.
Furthermore, 295 of the suspect cases have tested negative for the virus. Test results for the remaining 62 cases are pending as of Wednesday, 12 pm.
Accordingly, the MOH reported that it has initiated epidemiological investigations and contact tracing to identify individuals who had close contact with the cases and the process is ongoing.
Additionally, the ministry has identified 379 close contacts. Of the 304 who are still in Singapore, 299 have been contacted and have been placed in quarantine or preventive isolation. Efforts are ongoing to contact the remaining five close contacts.
Once identified, the MOH will closely monitor all close contacts.
As a precaution, the identified contacts will be quarantined for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient. Also, all other identified contacts who have a low risk of being infected will be under active surveillance and will be contacted daily to monitor their health status.
In Parliament on Monday (February 3), co-chair of the multi-ministry task force Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development, released an update that a total of 524 individuals are currently quarantined in Singapore. Of that figure, 222 are being housed in government quarantine facilities, with the remaining at home.
Additionally, the minister revealed that since last Saturday, more than 200,000 face mask packs – or 15 percent of the total amount due for distribution – have been given out by the government.
According to Wong, the decision to release masks directly from the national stockpile – gathered over the years thanks to crises like the SARS epidemic – to the general public was taken due to a “rapid consumption rate” by the public.