COVID-19: Singapore confirms two new cases; four discharged

People, some wearing protective face masks amid fears about the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, crossing a road in Singapore (PHOTO: Roslan Rahman/AFP via Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday (26 February) confirmed two new cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Singapore, bringing the total to 93.

Four 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 62, more than half of the total confirmed cases.

Case 92, 93: Both citizens with no travel history to China

Case 92 is a 47-year-old male Singapore citizen who has no recent travel history to China. He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Wednesday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at Sengkang General Hospital.

Case 93 is a 38-year-old male Singapore citizen, also with no recent travel history to China. He was also confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Wednesday morning and is currently warded in an isolation room at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

7 in ICU; most remaining cases stable

On Friday, MOH said that most of the 31 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 2,848 close contacts who have been quarantined. Of these, 259 are currently quarantined, and 2,589 have completed their quarantine.

Singaporeans are advised to defer all travel to Hubei Province and all non-essential travel to Mainland China, and Daegu city and Cheongdo county in South Korea. MOH also reminds the public to continue to exercise caution when travelling to the rest of South Korea.

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 35 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 81,000 globally. Over 30 deaths related to the outbreak have been reported outside mainland China.

At 1,265 confirmed infections including 12 deaths, South Korea has the second-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases after mainland China. Italy has the third-highest number with 370 cases, including 12 deaths. Iran has the most deaths outside of China with 19.

The global tally also includes cruise ship Diamond Princess, moored off Japan, which accounted for 691 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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