First virus case here without link to China travel or past cases
Contact tracing still ongoing as MOH tells people to prepare for possibility of new clusters involving locals
One of the two new cases of coronavirus infection confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) last night had no recent travel history to China or known links to previous cases.
The 41-year-old Singaporean was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital on Monday and tested positive at about 11pm on Wednesday.
The ministry said contact tracing is still in progress to identify people who had close contact with the man and to establish any link he might have had with confirmed cases here or travellers from China.
"We are interviewing the patient and his close contacts and investigating the locations he had recently been to," MOH added in its press statement.
The ministry urged Singaporeans to be prepared for the possibility of new infection clusters involving locals not linked with travel to China or contact with Chinese travellers, as has happened in several places outside China.
"We stand ready to ramp up our measures even more once we have some findings from the ongoing investigations," said MOH.
With the new infections, Singapore now has 30 confirmed cases, of which 11 are Singaporeans.
The other new patient is a 27- year-old Singaporean man who attended a private business meeting at Grand Hyatt Singapore from Jan 20 to 22.
The man, whose infection was confirmed at about 2pm yesterday, is the fourth patient linked to the meeting, after a Malaysian man, 42, and two South Korean men, aged 36 and 38, tested positive for the virus.
Fifteen Singapore residents were among 109 participants in the conference involving a multinational sales company.
One of the Chinese delegates was from the city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed at least 560 lives in China.
Four of the locals, including the 27-year-old patient, were referred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) for assessment after reporting symptoms.
The other 11 are well.
All 94 overseas participants, including the infected trio, have left Singapore.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) said yesterday that it was investigating the Grand Hyatt hotel incident.
None of the four confirmed cases in three countries had recent travel history to mainland China, providing more evidence of the virus spreading through human-to-human contact, which the WHO said is deeply concerning and could signal a much larger outbreak.
Ms Olivia Lawe-Davies, a spokesman for WHO, told Reuters yesterday: "WHO is coordinating with relevant ministries of health in relation to it.
"As countries are stepping up surveillance, the detection of more cases of local transmission can be expected."
Malaysian authorities said yesterday the Malaysian man's sister was among two new confirmed cases.
The hotel's marketing communications manager Gerald Kheng told The New Paper yesterday that apart from elevating its precautionary operational protocols, it has also engaged a government-appointed external agency to thoroughly sanitise and deep-clean potentially impacted guestrooms.
The ministry said the latest patients are warded in isolation rooms at NCID and are stable.
But the condition of two of the remaining 27 patients has worsened, with one in critical condition in intensive care and another requiring additional oxygen support, said MOH.
One patient has been discharged after recovering.
As of noon yesterday, 310 suspect cases have tested negative, and test results for another 147 cases are pending.
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