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Wuhan virus: Singapore confirms first case


Singapore yesterday confirmed its first imported case of a novel coronavirus, also known as the Wuhan virus.

In its latest update, the Singapore Ministry of Health said the infected individual is a 66-year-old male Chinese national from Wuhan who arrived in Singapore with his family on Jan 20 this year.

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

The ministry said it had also been notified of a suspected case, comprising a 53-year-old female Chinese national from Wuhan, who had tested positive for the coronavirus in a preliminary test.

The woman's condition is stable, and the result of a confirmatory test is pending, the ministry added.

The confirmed case was admitted to SGH's Emergency Department on Wednesday, with a fever and cough.

Prior to admission, the patient stayed at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort & Spa in Sentosa, and he had indicated that he had kept to the vicinity of the hotel.

The ministry has initiated contact tracing and so far, nine close contacts who were his travelling companions, have been identified.

Singapore now 'much better prepared'

One of his travelling companions, a 37-year-old male Chinese national from Wuhan, has also been warded as a suspect case. His condition is stable.

As a precautionary measure, all close contacts will be quarantined for 14 days from their last exposure to the patient, the ministry added.

Meanwhile, in an interview with The Straits Times at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Davos, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong was quoted as saying that the republic was much better prepared now than it was during the SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak of 2003.

According to the report, Lee noted that Singapore had been preparing for a viral outbreak since SARS in 2003, which had infected 238 people in the republic, 33 of whom died. It took three months to contain the virus.

"I think we are much better prepared now. We have a new Communicable Disease Centre at Tan Tock Seng Hospital," the prime minister said, adding that after the SARS experience, Singapore had undertaken a thorough review of its medical facilities and infrastructure, including isolation wards and scientific testing and capabilities.

- Bernama

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