COVID-19: Singapore confirms 2 new cases, total at 98; new cluster of 4 cases

A temperature screening check at Jewel Changi Airport in Singapore. (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday (28 February) confirmed two new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to 98.

Three more patients have been discharged from the hospital. This brings the total of those who have fully recovered from the infection and have been discharged to 69, more than half of the total confirmed cases.

MOH also highlighted a new cluster at Wizlearn Technologies with four cases including the latest two cases.

Case 97 - linked to Wizlearn Technologies cluster

The 44 year-old female Singapore Permanent Resident (PR) who has no recent travel history to China, Daegu and Cheongdo is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID). She is linked to a 38-year-old Singapore man (Cases 93) and a 44-year-old Singaporean man (Case 95).

She reported onset of symptoms on 20 February and had sought treatment at a general practitioner (GP) clinic on the same day. As she had been identified as a close contact of the 38-year-old Singapore man, she was referred by MOH to NCID on Thursday and immediately isolated.

Subsequent test results confirmed her COVID-19 infection on Thursday afternoon.

Prior to hospital admission, she had gone to work at Wizlearn Technologies and attended a business meeting at the Agency for Integrated Care in Maxwell Road. She stays at Choa Chu Kang North 5.

Case 98 - linked to Wizlearn Technologies cluster

The 24 year-old male Singapore PR who has no recent travel history to China, Daegu and Cheongdo was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Friday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID.

He is linked to the 44 year-old female Singapore PR (Case 97), the 38-year-old Singapore man (Cases 93) and a 44-year-old Singaporean man (Case 95).

More details on Case 95 - 44-year-old Singaporean man

The man is currently warded in an isolation room at NCID and is linked to the 38-year-old Singapore man (Case 93).

He reported onset of symptoms on 22 February and had sought treatment at two GP clinics on Tuesday and Wednesday. He was referred to NCID on Wednesday and was immediately isolated. Subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on Thursday morning.

Prior to hospital admission, he had attended business meetings at Sport Singapore in Stadium Drive, Singapore Aviation Academy and Toa Payoh Hub, and visited the Toa Payoh Sport Centre. He stays at Choa Chu Kang Crescent.

More details on Case 96 - 12-year-old Raffles Institution student

The Singaporean boy who has no recent travel history to China, Daegu and Cheongdo is currently warded in an isolation room at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH). He is a family member of a 64-year-old Singaporean woman (Case 94).

The student at Raffles Institution reported onset of symptoms on 21 February and had sought treatment at a GP clinic on 22 February. As he had been identified as a close contact of the woman, he was referred by MOH to KKH on Wednesday and was immediately isolated.

Subsequent test results confirmed the boy’s COVID-19 infection on Thursday afternoon.

He stays in the Jalan Jurong Kechil area.

7 in ICU; most remaining cases stable

On Friday, MOH said that most of the 29 remaining patients in the hospital are stable or improving. Seven remain in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

As of noon, the ministry has identified 2940 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 191 are currently quarantined, and 2749 have completed their quarantine.

It 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.

In addition, the MOH advised members of the public to avoid non-essential travel to Daegu city and Cheongdo county in South Korea following a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the country.

It also reminded the public to continue to exercise caution when travelling to the rest of South Korea.

Misinformation on foreign domestic worker

Separately, the MOH issued an update to clarify on a rumour circulating on social media that a foreign domestic worker had passed away from COVID-19 in Singapore.

“This is not true. She was tested for COVID-19 and found to be negative,” the MOH said.

As of 4pm on Friday, there has been no fatality related to COVID-19 in Singapore, it added.  

Advising members of the public to not speculate or spread unfounded rumours, the MOH said they can visit www.moh.gov.sg for updates on the COVID-19 situation.

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 50 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".

To date, the virus has left more than 2,700 people in China dead and sickened over 83,000 globally. 79 deaths related to the outbreak have been reported outside mainland China.

At 2,337 confirmed infections including 13 deaths, South Korea has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China. Italy has the third-highest number with 655 cases, including 17 deaths. Iran has the most deaths outside of China with 34.

The global tally also includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which accounted for 705 cases, including four related deaths so far. Five Singaporeans who were on board the quarantined cruise ship have been allowed to disembark it last week.

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.

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