New Singapore infections hit one-day high as Japanese woman succumbs to coronavirus

A neighborhood estate cleaner in Singapore wearing a face mask. Photo: Amrin Amin/Facebook
A neighborhood estate cleaner in Singapore wearing a face mask. Photo: Amrin Amin/Facebook

Singapore reported its highest number of new coronavirus cases in a single day yesterday as the virus claimed its third life outside China and thousands in Vietnam went on lockdown.

The eight infections involved more members of a church where seven people have now taken ill and four workers at a construction site and construction workers. None of them had traveled to China. 

One of those linked to the church is a National University of Singapore employee. The 54-year-old Singaporean man fell ill Monday and had not interacted with students or colleagues since the onset of symptoms, the Health Ministry said. 

A 30-year-old male relative of the DBS employee whose Wednesday diagnosis led to hundreds being evacuated from his office tower was confirmed to be infected Thursday morning.

They were said to live on Mei Hwan Drive in Ang Mo Kio. The first man to be found ill had visited two clinics before being admitted to the National Center for Infectious Diseases. 

Earlier this week, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told the media that Singapore must “be prepared for the worst” as some cases may prove fatal.

Here’s every coronavirus infection in Singapore on a map (Updated)

Over in Vietnam, roughly 10,000 residents in a rural community about 40 kilometers from Hanoi were put into quarantine for 20 days amid the coronavirus outbreak after six people fell ill there.

Japan last night reported its first coronavirus death, hours after it announced 44 more cases among passengers on the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship at Yokohama. A total of 219 people including 15 crew members had been infected as of Friday morning. 

The fatality was a woman in her 80s who diagnosed with pneumonia and hospitalized since Feb. 1. She was the mother-in-law of a taxi driver who also tested positive for the virus. Confirmation that she had contracted COVID-19 only came after her death. 

The country also announced new confirmed cases involving people not from the cruise ship, suggesting the virus is spreading locally as well. They involved a doctor in his 50s from the Wakayama prefecture in Western Japan and a man in his 20s from Chiba prefecture. Neither had traveled to China recently. 

China sacked the leader of Hubei province yesterday following the large single-day spike in cases. The nearly 15,000 new cases have been attributed to broader testing methods. More than 63,000 have been infected in China and nearly 1,500 have died according to its health agencies Friday morning. 

Cambodia announced that it found no infections aboard the MS Westerdam cruise ship that was turned away by five nations including Thailand before making port in Sihanoukville, according to Reuters. 

Hong Kong

Hong Kong announced three more cases last night involving two people who went to a hotpot dinner where at the Star Seafood Restaurant in North Point on Jan. 26 where three other people took ill.

They are a 67-year-old woman and her 37-year-old son, who have been admitted to Ruttonjee Hospital. The woman is the sister-in-law of Hong Kong’s 53rd patient, a 75-year-old man. 

The third case announced last night is a 43-year-old man who is related to Hong Kong’s 47th case that was confirmed Tuesday. Both attended a family banquet on Jan. 30. 

Two people who absconded from mandatory coronavirus quarantine were tracked down by police yesterday. The government said it would consider taking further action, but no further details were given.

The duo were among the more than 2,000 people entering Hong Kong from the mainland who were put into compulsory 14-day quarantine that came into effect Feb. 8.

Manila

Taiwan is not pleased with the Philippine government’s decision to include it in an expanded ban on all travelers coming from China, alleging that Manila was “misled” by the WHO, which considers the self-governed island part of the People’s Republic of China, or PRC.

Taiwan’s diplomatic outpost in the Philippines said in a statement on Wednesday that Taiwan was “wrongly included” in the government’s coronavirus-related travel ban, and added that it was never actually part of the PRC.

“The Republic of China (Taiwan) is a sovereign and independent state. Taiwan issues its own passport and visas and has exclusive jurisdiction over its people and territory. In fact, Taiwan is not, nor has it ever been, part of the PRC,” the statement said. Taiwan has not reported a rise in infections above 18 for some time.

Indonesia

Still free of confirmed coronavirus cases, Grab’s food delivery platform in Indonesia has removed the likes of snakes and monitor lizards amid reports the disease is linked to exotic animal meat.

Ian, a seller from Tenda Dua Cobra, a roadside pop-up restaurant specializes in reptile meat in the Jakartan suburb of Tangerang, complained his products were removed from Grab Food.

“[My dishes on] Grab Food have been removed, they said we’re not allowed to sell snakes and monitor lizards because [they’re suspected to spread] the coronavirus,” Ian told Kompas

Indonesian authorities are also tracing the whereabouts of Chinese tourists visiting Bali after an online post by the Chinese provincial government in Anhui said that an infected man identified only as Jin visited Bali on Jan. 22 and left for Shanghai six days later. 

Indonesia’s Health Ministry, however, says it doubts that Jin got infected during his visit to Bali.

Malaysia

Malaysia announced its 19th confirmed patient yesterday, a 39-year-old Chinese tourist from Wuhan who arrived in the country Jan. 25 with a friend and her mother. The woman’s companions already tested positive for the virus on Feb. 5 and 7, respectively. 

Thailand

Another cruise ship entered Thailand waters and successfully docked at the resort island of Phuket yesterday, a day after authorities rejected the Dutch-flagged MS Westerdam vessel that finally docked in Cambodia after being turned away by five countries. 

Allowing the MV Seabourn Ovation to disembark in a 10-hour port call before it continues for Singapore provoked rabid response from Thai netizens online despite having no reports of infections. The ship sailed from Hong Kong on Feb. 1 and was carrying roughly 1,000 people.

“IT IS NOT HUMANITY. IT IS YOUR COUNTRY’S SELFISHNESS,” @Faaiindeed tweeted. “Also, It’s super ridiculous for the countries REJECTING #Westerdam and #seabournovation to ask for HUMANITY from Thailand? Don’t force other country to use their resources to treat you!”

Related:

Singapore, Hong Kong hit 50 coronavirus cases as Cambodia welcomes rejected cruise ship
Rugby Sevens rescheduled for October due to coronavirus outbreak, as infections creep up to 51
Police locate 2 people who fled coronavirus quarantine
Public panics over cruise ship’s Phuket port call
Exotic animal meat off the delivery menu to ‘avoid coronavirus’: Grab Indonesia

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