Singapore Confirms First Case of Wuhan Virus; Patient Had Stayed in Sentosa

Singapore authorities have been saying that it’s a matter of time before we see the first case of the Wuhan virus here in Singapore, and now, it’s confirmed.

Today (23 January 2020), Singapore joins Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the US to be a country outside of China to have a confirmed patient of the Wuhan virus.

Singapore Confirms First Case of Wuhan Virus Who Had Stayed in Sentosa Hotel

At about 6pm today, a 66-year-old Chinese national, who’s a Wuhan resident, was tested positive for the Wuhan virus, which is now more commonly known as 2019-nCoV.

The man arrived in Singapore on 20 January 2020 (Monday) at about 10.40pm, and had flown in from Guangzhou via China Southern flight CZ351. During that time, he had a sore throat but no fever, so he was able to pass the screening.

He had come to Singapore with a group of nine people excluding him.

The man then stayed in Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa resort and developed a fever the next day.

However, he only went to SGH on Wednesday, whereby he was immediately isolated, diagnosed with pneumonia and identified to MOH as a suspect case at 10pm.

So, how about his travelling companions and the people who had been in close contact with him?

MOH Doing Contact Tracing

The man had stayed in his hotel throughout, and had gone to his hotel direct from Changi Airport via a chartered car from the airport.

In other words, despite him being not quarantined for two days while infected, he had not been to any crowded area.

MOH is now doing contact tracing to identify people who might have been in close contact with him. This includes the 30 people who were seated near to him in the plane.

One of his travelling companions is his 37-year-old son who has been warded as a suspect case.

Those who have close contact with the victim would be quarantined and monitored for the next 14 days to see if any symptoms would develop.

Another Woman Also Tested Positive But is Awaiting Results of a Second Confirmatory Test

The 66-year-old might not be the Patient Zero in Singapore: a Chinese national, a 53-year-old female, has also been tested positive for the coronavirus during the first sample test.

For this lady, she is currently warded in Tan Tock Seng Hospital and her condition is stable.

Singapore Has a Task Force Ready

Before the announcement of the confirmed cases, Singapore has already set up a task force, chaired by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Minister for National Development Law-rence Wong, to “mount an effective response when” the first confirmed case “happens”.

They will work with different ministries to fight the virus.

Well, turns out they don’t have to wait long.

Wuhan Virus Status in Singapore Now

Right now, there are 28 suspected cases in Singapore, and 7 people have been cleared.

Is this going to be another SARS?

Most probably.

But this time, we’re ready.

Here’s what MOH advises when you’re overseas:

  • Avoid contact with live animals including poultry and birds, and consumption of raw and undercooked meats;
  • Avoid crowded places and close contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness;
  • Observe good personal hygiene;
  • Practise frequent hand washing with soap (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are dirtied by respiratory secretions after coughing or sneezing);
  • Wear a mask if you have respiratory symptoms such as a cough or runny nose;
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue paper when coughing or sneezing, and dispose the soiled tissue paper in the rubbish bin immediately; and
  • Seek medical attention promptly if you are feeling unwell.

In the meantime, remember to practise good personal hygiene. Do check out MOH’s latest updates here.

We’ve beaten SARS before, so we’ll beat this latest nasty creature as well.