Wuhan virus arrives in Singapore

The now-closed Huanan wet market where the novel coronavirus is thought to have originated. Photo: 宋清辉/Weibo
The now-closed Huanan wet market where the novel coronavirus is thought to have originated. Photo: 宋清辉/Weibo

After several false alarms, the viral Chinese coronavirus has hit Singapore, where the first case was confirmed last night.

The virus, which has now killed 25 people in China, was found in a 66-year-old Chinese man from Wuhan who tested positive for the virus. Singapore health officials are also looking into a possible infection involving his 37-year-old son. Both arrived in Singapore on Monday with eight other family members who have since returned home. 

The family had checked in at the Shangri La Rasa Sentosa hotel. Two days later, the 66-year-old man developed a fever and went to the Singapore General Hospital where he is now quarantined with his son. 

Hotel vice president for operations Josef Dolp told reporters last night they had stepped up hygiene measures before the guests had checked in. The room they stayed in has been “thoroughly” cleaned, and the cleaners also quarantined. 

Singapore has also further expanded temperature screenings for passengers arriving in the city-state at land and sea checkpoints, the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority said today. 

As the virus continues to spread, it has also intensified in China, where the number of confirmed cases has jumped to 830, that country’s National Health Commission announced today.

One of the 25 deaths was reported in Hebei province, outside the province where Wuhan, the city where the outbreak reportedly began, is located.

China has also expanded its lockdown to include more cities near Wuhan, including Huanggang and Ezhou, affecting upward of 20 million people. Chinese New Year celebrations have also been canceled in the country, including Beijing’s major festivities.

The World Health Organization said yesterday the outbreak does not yet constitute a global health emergency, citing a limited number of cases abroad. 

Scenes at a hospital in Wuhan posted to Weibo this week.
Scenes at a hospital in Wuhan posted to Weibo this week.

Meanwhile Vietnam got its first infection while other cities and countries rush to respond.


Vietnam yesterday confirmed two cases of the virus, also involving a father and son. The son, a Chinese man who had been living in Ho Chi Minh City, was infected by his father who had visited him in Vietnam from Wuhan, Vietnamese health officials announced.  

The father was hospitalized Jan. 17 after developing a fever. Days later, his son showed symptoms.


Japan’s health ministry announced today its second confirmed case of the Wuhan virus. A Chinese man in his 40s had developed a fever days before he arrived in Japan from Wuhan on Sunday. He is being quarantined at a hospital in Tokyo. 

South Korea

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today confirmed a second case of the Wuhan virus. 


Macao has confirmed a second case of the virus. The 66-year-old Chinese male tourist from Wuhan entered Macao on Wednesday with a body temperature of 38.7C. He is now at the Conde S. Januario Hospital, where the woman confirmed as Macao’s first Wuhan virus case is also quarantined. 

Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, two parks normally used as holiday camps have been converted into quarantine zones.


Indonesia got its first scare of the contagious Chinese coronavirus on Thursday afternoon, which led to the lockdown of a building where the office of Chinese tech company Huawei is located in the capital Jakarta.

An employee of Huawei Tech Investment, who had recently returned from a trip to China, was suspected of exhibiting fever symptoms. The office management told Coconuts Jakarta the man was taken to hospital where he was later diagnosed with laryngitis.

Huawei’s headquarters is located in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, where several suspected cases of the virus have been reported. 

Confirmed cases as of 11am Friday Jan. 24, 2020:

China: 830 (25 deaths)

US: 1

South Korea: 2

Thailand: 4

Japan: 2

Macao: 2

Vietnam: 2

Singapore: 1

Taiwan: 1

Hong Kong: 1

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