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23 Jan 2020 | 11:55 AM UTC

Singapore: First case of 2019-nCoV confirmed January 23 /update 2

First case of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) confirmed in Singapore January 23; temperature screening expanded to all land and sea checkpoints

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SGP

Event

On Thursday, January 23, Singapore authorities confirmed the country's first case of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which originated in Wuhan (Hubei province, China) in December 2019. The 66-year old man, who is a resident of Wuhan, traveled to Singapore on Monday, January 20, and is currently in isolation in a hospital. Two additional cases are suspected in Singapore and are awaiting confirmation as of 01:00 (local time) on Friday, January 24.

As of Thursday, the Singapore Health Ministry has expanded temperature screenings for all passengers arriving from China to all land and sea checkpoints, in order to prevent further spread of the virus.

Further spread of the illness is possible over the near term, particularly during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.

Context

As of January 23, cases of the virus have been confirmed in Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, and the US, and suspected cases have been reported in Mexico and Australia. The Wuhan novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV¬) has killed 17 people and infected more than 630 others across China. Fever screening measures are being implemented at airports throughout Asia, Europe, Latin America, Australia, the Middle East, and the US.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Individuals who plan to travel to or have recently returned from China, particularly Hubei province, are advised to monitor the situation and anticipate additional security checks at the airport. Individuals are advised to take precautionary measures to reduce their risk of contracting the virus:

•Avoid all contact with animals (dead or alive); avoid eating animal products that are undercooked; avoid all markets where animals are sold

• Avoid all close contact with people displaying symptoms of the disease (e.g. difficulties breathing)

• Frequently wash hands, wear a face mask

• Individuals within China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to seek medical attention, avoid contact with other people, and wash hands regularly

• Adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments

•Travelers returning from China developing symptoms of pneumonia are advised to call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to avoid spread of the disease.