Coronavirus: Singapore confirms 4 new cases, including 6-month-old child of infected couple

SINGAPORE (ANN): Four more cases of the coronavirus infection were confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (Feb 5), including the youngest patient confirmed so far, a six-month-old baby who is the child of an infected couple.

Of the four new cases, three are linked to the cluster of local transmission announced on Tuesday, and one is an imported case involving a Chinese tourist from Wuhan.

MOH reiterated that there is no evidence of widespread community transmission in Singapore for now.

This brings the total number of confirmed cases in Singapore to 28.

Outside China, Singapore has the second highest number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus, which originated in China's Wuhan city. Japan has the most with 33 cases so far.

On Tuesday, the Government said that Singapore recorded its first cases of local coronavirus transmission, with four women here infected who had not travelled to Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Two of them - one Singaporean and one Singapore permanent resident - work at Yong Thai Hang, a Chinese health products shop in Cavan Road, in Lavender, that caters to Chinese tour groups.

The third is an Indonesian maid of the PR, while the fourth is a Singaporean tour guide who had taken groups to the same shop.

Another two confirmed cases were announced on Tuesday. The two Singaporeans were among a group of 92 people flown back to Singapore from Wuhan on a Scoot flight last Thursday. Before this, another two Singaporeans on the same flight had been reported as confirmed cases.

The coronavirus, known as 2019-nCov, first emerged in Wuhan in December last year and has so far proved to be more infectious than Sars.

As of Wednesday, the outbreak had sickened more than 24,000 and killed more than 490, with Hong Kong reporting its first death from the coronavirus on Tuesday, the second fatality outside mainland China.

The deceased was a 39-year-old man with an underlying illness. He had taken the high-speed train from Hong Kong to Wuhan city in Hubei province on Jan 21, and from Changsha in Hunan province to Hong Kong on Jan 23.

Most of the deaths from the virus occurred in central Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak.

In the wake of the outbreak, a growing number of countries, including Italy, the United States, Australia, Singapore, Japan and Russia, have put in place travel restrictions. Germany, France and the US have evacuated citizens from China.

Several major airlines have also halted flights to and from China, deepening concerns of a widespread economic slowdown.

In Singapore, measures to combat the outbreak include mask distribution at residents' committee centres and community centres islandwide, which began on Saturday.

The Government announced on Jan 30 that all 1.3 million households in Singapore would be given a pack of four masks each amid reports of shops running out of stock.

On Tuesday, the Government also said that large gatherings and communal activities, such as assemblies and excursions, will be suspended at schools, pre-schools and eldercare facilities here from Wednesday after the first local transmissions of the coronavirus were reported on Tuesday. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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