COVID-19: Singapore confirms four new cases; five discharged, including 1-year-old

A visitor, wearing a protective facemask amid fears about the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, walks along Merlion Park. (PHOTO: AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday (18 February) confirmed four new cases of the novel coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to 81.

Of these, three are linked to the Grace Assembly of God church and one is linked to a previous case.

Five more patients were also discharged from the hospital on Tuesday, including a one-year-old baby boy, bringing the total of those who have fully recovered from the COVID-19 virus and have been discharged to 29.

Of the 52 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. Four are in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Case 78, 80, 81: Links with Grace Assembly of God

Case 78 is a 57-year-old Singaporean woman with no recent travel history to China. She is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). She is linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God.

She reported onset of symptoms on 9 February and had sought treatment at two general practitioner (GP) clinics on 10 February and Monday. She was sent to NCID on Monday, and subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Monday afternoon.

Prior to hospital admission, she had gone to work at a community hospital run by a Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VMO). She performs an administrative function at the community hospital, and had not interacted with patients since the onset of symptoms. She stays in the Dairy Farm area.

Case 80 is a 38-year-old Singaporean woman with no recent travel history to China. She was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Tuesday morning, and is warded in an isolation room at the National University Hospital (NUH).

She is linked with Case 66, a 28-year-old Singaporean man linked to the cluster at Grace Assembly of God. She works at NUH in an administrative function and had not interacted with patients since the onset of symptoms.

The Fernvale Link resident reported developing symptoms on 4 February and had sought treatment at a GP clinic on 4 February and 10 February.

She was referred to NUH for a chest X-ray on 11 February, and went back to the NUH again on Monday.

Case 81 is a 50-year-old Singaporean man with no recent travel history to China. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Tuesday morning, and is warded in an isolation room at NCID.

He reported developing symptoms on Sunday and had been conveyed by ambulance to NCID following a phone consultation with a GP.

Prior to his hospitalisation, he had mostly remained at his home at Lower Delta Road.

Case 79: Family member of Case 72

Case 79 is a 35-year-old Malaysian woman who is a Singapore work pass holder, and has no recent travel history to China. She is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

She is a family member of Case 72, a 40-year-old male Chinese national who is a Singapore work pass holder. He, in turn, is a non-medical contact of Case 59, a 61-year-old Singaporean private hospital employee.

Case 79 reported the onset of symptoms on 12 February. As she had been identified as a close contact of Case 72, she was placed under home quarantine from Saturday. She was conveyed to NCID via an ambulance on Monday. Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Monday afternoon.

Before she was served a Quarantine Order, she had gone to work at FoodXchange@Admiralty at 8A Admiralty Street. Her job function at FoodXchange does not entail handling of food. She stays at Woodlands Crescent.

One-year-old baby fastest to be discharged

Among the five discharged was the one-year-old male baby which was tested positive on Sunday afternoon. He was among a group of Singaporeans evacuated from the city of Wuhan on 9 February.

He is the second-youngest confirmed case in Singapore, and the fastest to be discharged. The youngest case, a six-month-old infant, is still warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

Also among those discharged are the Indonesian domestic worker who worked for one of the employees at health products shop Yong Thai Hang along Cavan Road, and two cases linked to The Life Church and Missions Singapore.

59 cases of local transmissions

Out of the 81 cases, seven have no established links to any previous cases or travel history to mainland China. In total, there are 59 cases of local transmissions.

As of Tuesday noon, the ministry has identified 2,486 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 1,160 are currently quarantined, and 1,326 have completed their quarantine.

The MOH also reiterated its advice for Singaporeans to defer all travel to Hubei province, home to Wuhan where the virus originated, and all non-essential travel to mainland China.

To date, there are at least five identified clusters here, with the biggest thus far of 21 cases linked to Grace Assembly of God.

The other four are associated with health products shop Yong Thai Hang along Cavan Road, The Life Church, and Missions Singapore in Paya Lebar, a business meeting at the Grand Hyatt hotel and the construction site at Seletar Aerospace Heights.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)

COVID-19’s death toll surpasses SARS epidemic

The novel strain belongs to the same family of coronaviruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which killed nearly 800 people globally during a 2002-2003 outbreak and also started in China.

It likely originated from Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market, where live animals or products – such as foxes, wolf puppies, giant salamanders, snakes, porcupines, and camel meat – are sold.

Declared a global emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 has spread to 28 territories beyond mainland China. The WHO also said that cases being transmitted by people who have never travelled to China could be the "tip of the iceberg".

By territory, Singapore has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China.

The global tally includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which has 542 cases. Five Singaporeans on board the ship have reported that they are physically well, said a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson last Wednesday, in response to Yahoo News Singapore’s queries.

As of Tuesday, more than 1,800 people in China have died of the virus, which has sickened over 73,000 people globally. Five territories – Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Philippines, and France – have each reported the death of a patient infected with the virus.

Patients suffering from the new strain may exhibit fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness – such as coughing or difficulty in breathing – as well as pneumonia-like symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and headache.

However, some who have died from it have not displayed symptoms of fever, according to details released by China’s National Health Commission, potentially complicating global efforts to check for infected travellers as they arrive at airports and other travel hubs.

(INFOGRAPHIC: Yahoo News Singapore)

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