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Wuhan virus: Singapore confirms first imported case; another suspected case has positive preliminary test

SINGAPORE — A Chinese national who arrived in Singapore on Jan 20 has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in the city-state, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Jan 23).

MOH said that it has put in place precautionary measures to reduce the risk of travellers bringing in the virus, including putting up more temperature screening stations and health advisory posters at land and sea checkpoints, as well as distributing health advisory notices to travellers coming in from China.

MOH said that it has put in place precautionary measures to reduce the risk of travellers bringing in the virus, including putting up more temperature screening stations and health advisory posters at land and sea checkpoints, as well as distributing health advisory notices to travellers coming in from China.

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SINGAPORE — A Chinese national who arrived in Singapore on Jan 20 has tested positive for the coronavirus, the first confirmed case in the Republic, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (Jan 23).

He is currently warded in an isolation room in the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) and is in a stable condition.

The patient is a resident of Wuhan, the ground zero of a virus outbreak that has so far killed 17 people in China. The novel coronavirus has also spread to Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States, which confirmed its first case on Wednesday.

The 66-year-old male arrived in Singapore from Guangzhou via a China Southern flight at 10.40pm on Monday. He was travelling with nine other companions.

He developed a fever and cough the next day.

When he arrived at the SGH Emergency Department on Wednesday evening, he was immediately admitted and isolated, and has remained isolated since. He was diagnosed with pneumonia and was identified as a suspect case, and MOH was notified.

On Thursday evening, he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

MOH said the patient did not visit the Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, before he flew to Singapore.

While in Singapore, the Wuhan resident travelled via a chartered car from Changi Airport to his hotel at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort.

He remained in the vicinity of his hotel throughout his entire stay and he took a taxi to the SGH Emergency Department.

MOH has started contact tracing to identify those who have had close contact with the man. This includes his nine travelling companions, one of whom is his son, who accompanied him to SGH and has been warded.

The eight other travelling companions have left Singapore, MOH said, adding that it has informed the authorities of the destination country.

MOH will also contact about 30 other flight passengers who sat two rows in front and behind him on the plane.

They will be quarantined and monitored for the next 14 days since their last contact with the patient to see whether any symptoms would develop.

MOH has also found another Chinese national who tested positive for the coronavirus during the first sample test. The result of a second confirmatory test is pending.

This potential patient is a 53-year-old female who is also from Wuhan.

MOH was notified of the case on Thursday morning at about 3am. She was isolated upon admission at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and her current condition is stable.

She is not related to the first confirmed case.

More suspect cases have been identified since the MOH took additional precautionary measures on Wednesday by expanding the definition of who would be considered suspect cases.

There are currently 28 suspect cases, out of which seven have been ruled out, one is confirmed and another is pending the result of a second confirmatory test.

MOH said it will take every measure to contain the possible spread of the virus as Singapore expects more imported cases due to the large number of cases in China and the high travel volume from China to Singapore.

It also advised Singaporeans to avoid travelling to Hubei province, expanding its travel advisory to beyond just the city of Wuhan but the whole province where the city is situated in. This is in view of Chinese authorities expanding its travel restrictions on an increasing number of cities surrounding Wuhan, including Huanggang and Ezhou.

Border screening will also be carried out at land and sea checking points, beyond just at Changi Airport.

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