Authorities in Singapore confirmed on Thursday the city’s first case of viral pneumonia linked to a newly-identified coronavirus originally reported in mainland China.
The patient is a 66-year-old man from Wuhan in China’s Hubei province – the centre of the outbreak – who arrived Singapore with his family on Monday, via a flight from Guangzhou, in China’s Guangdong province, said Singapore’s Ministry of Health. The person sought medical help on Wednesday at the Singapore General Hospital. He was diagnosed with Wuhan-type pneumonia on Thursday and placed in medical isolation.
The news of Singapore’s first certified case of Wuhan-linked viral pneumonia came on the same day as Macau confirmed a second case and cancelled its Chinese New Year festivities. Macau’s leader also said, in response to reporters’ questions, that the outbreak control effort could not exclude the possibility of the government requesting a closure of the city’s casinos.
Singapore currently operates a duopoly casino market shared between the Marina Bay Sands resort, run by a unit of United States-based casino firm Las Vegas Sands Corp; and the Resorts World Sentosa casino complex operated by Genting Singapore Ltd, a unit of the Malaysian conglomerate Genting.
The new coronavirus has spread from Wuhan to a number of cities and provinces in mainland China. Confirmed cases have also been reported in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
Health authorities in Singapore said on Thursday they were tracing the people that had come in close contact with that infected patient, for health checks. Among the man’s nine travel companions, at least one – his 37-year-old son – has been admitted to hospital as a suspect case.
The other eight already have left Singapore, said Singapore’s Ministry of Health. It added that the authorities in their destination country had been informed about the situation.
The infected patient stayed at Shangri-La’s Rasa Sentosa Resort and Spa, a property unrelated to the Resorts World Sentosa casino resort. The man indicated to authorities that he had not ventured beyond the “vicinity” of the hotel.
Singapore’s health authorities said on Thursday the city could expect to record more imported cases of the viral outbreak given the large number of cases in China and the large volume of people travelling from China to Singapore. Singapore said it had plans to expand body-temperature screening operations to all immigration checkpoints for the city-state, including land crossings and sea ports. The measure was already in place at the city’s civilian airport. The aim was to detect any infected person before they entered the city and mingled in the community.
On Friday morning, China’s National Health Commission confirmed the death toll in that country from the novel coronavirus had risen to 25, and the number of confirmed cases in China stood at 830.
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”There’s been a 20 percent or 30 percent increase in our testing staff to handle globally the amount of extra work that we’ve got, and the Philippines and Macau have definitely contributed to that overall growth”
Chief commercial officer of testing and certification firm GLI