Singapore last night announced two more cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections on the island to 45, as the virus kills more than 1,000 and spread to at least 40,000 people in China.
The latest Singapore cases involve a 37-year-old Singaporean man who works as a private cop for security firm Certis Cisco. He tested positive on Sunday and is being warded at the Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.
Before he was hospitalized, the man had visited two confirmed patients before they tested positive to serve them with quarantine orders. He had also gone to the Certis Cisco center on Jalan Afifi near Paya Lebar and was also on duty at the annual Chingay street parade.
The other case is a two-year-old Singaporean girl who was among those evacuated from Wuhan on Jan. 30. She is being warded at the KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.
Seven of those infected have now been deemed recovered from the virus after one more person was discharged from the hospital yesterday, the Health Ministry said.
Seven others are in critical condition and in the ICU.
Singapore has also denied media reports that the virus is airborne. Janil Puthucheary, the Senior Minister of State for Communication and Information, said that current evidence still suggests that the virus is spread through droplets.
He also met with private-hire and taxi drivers who are concerned about the outbreak as a number of confirmed cases had involved such workers. The government said it would hand out 300,000 masks to active drivers for free.
In Hong Kong, more than 100 residents have been forced out of their homes amid fears the virus is airborne and could spread via ventilation. Two residents of the same block have been confirmed with the infection.
Cruise ship passengers in Asia continue to be affected by the outbreak after Thailand denied disembarkation for the Westerdam cruise ship carrying 1,455 passengers from Japan.
Meanwhile, 135 passengers aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess vessel in Yokohama have tested positive for the virus. Japan authorities are allowing elderly passengers to leave the ship amid sanitation concerns.
The British man who tested positive for the virus after attending a business meeting in Singapore has been labeled as a “super spreader” by the media as concerns grow that the virus is spreading globally.
The man flew from Singapore to the French Alps for a short holiday with other Britons before flying back to the UK, where he was diagnosed.
Among those with him at the Alps and later tested positive were five people now hospitalized in France, five in Britain and one in Spain’s Mallorca island.
The United States reportedly confirmed its 13th case of the virus today. The unidentified patient, now admitted at the San Diego Medical Center, arrived in the U.S. from Wuhan last week at the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
In Australia, the government has denounced discrimination against the Australian Chinese community following reports of such instances. Health Minister Greg Hunt said it has risen as a result of the coronavirus. Australians evacuated from Wuhan are being quarantined on Christmas Island, off the coast of Western Australia.
Here are more updates from other parts of Asia:
Malaysia is mulling a stimulus package to bolster the tourism industry now hit by the coronavirus outbreak as travel restrictions have been imposed to curtail travelers from China.
At the same time, Malaysians concerned they might have to work from home to dodge the virus have been told that there is no need to do so. Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad told reporters this, citing limited cases and spread of the virus in the country.
He also denied claims by a self-proclaimed wellness coach that eating water spinach and drinking coconut water would help deter from infections. Dzulkefly said the government will stick to evidence-based solutions.
More than 100 residents were evacuated from a residential building in the Tsing Yi estate early on Tuesday morning after two people living in the same block were infected. A resident living on the fourth floor is Hong Kong’s 12th confirmed coronavirus patient while a 62-year-old woman living in the apartment underneath was announced as the city’s 42nd and latest case.
Hong Kong believes the virus is airborne and can be spread to connecting vents, similar to reports during the SARS outbreak in the city in 2003.
“When a person turns on the exhaust fan inside the toilet, the air inside the drainage system can enter via the ventilation pipe,” University of Hong Kong microbiologist Professor Yuen Kwok-yung told South China Morning Post.
Those being evacuated will go on a 14-day quarantine.
Thailand joins Japan, Manila, and Guam in denying the Westerdam cruise ship carrying 1,455 passengers from disembarking at its port.
The ship had come from Japan and also include Japanese nationals among its passengers. The vessel was scheduled to enter the Okinawa prefecture on Saturday but that plan has now been canceled following Japan’s orders.
The cruise was on a 14-day Taiwan and Japan cruise from Hong Kong.
The Philippines’ first coronavirus patient, 38, and wife of the first fatality outside of China, is deemed to have recovered from the disease, the health department confirmed Monday.
Her partner, a 44-year-old Chinese man, was buried on Saturday following delays over his cremation.
The country is still probing 261 cases across 15 regions.
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