The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tue (4 Feb) confirmed the Republic’s first locally transmitted cases involving the novel coronavirus originating in the Chinese city of Wuhan.
MOH in a press briefing today said that the four Singapore residents tested positive for the virus have not recently travelled to China.
Currently, Singapore has recorded 24 cases involving the novel coronavirus.
The four new cases comprise a tour guide for a group of Chinese tourists, two salespersons at health product store Yong Thai Hang — one of the places visited by the group while in Singapore — and one domestic helper of one of the aforementioned persons.
The group had reportedly arrived in Singapore on 22 Jan from China, and had gone to Malaysia from 24 Jan to 26 Jan.
They subsequently entered Singapore again via Woodlands Checkpoint on 27 Jan at 3am, and departed Terminal 1 of Changi Airport on an early morning flight at 6am the same day.
Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said that MOH has begun “contact tracing to identify individuals who had close contact with these cases” in a bid to “ring-fence the cluster and limit further spread”.
Mr Gan added that the authorities will raise the alert level regarding the novel coronavirus in cases where the source of transmission cannot be traced.
According to MOH, the four aforementioned cases do not definitively point to a community spread, given that the source can be easily traced — namely, the travel group from China — and that patients in the four cases had close contact with one another.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and stand ready to ramp up our measures if necessary,” said Mr Gan.
“I urge Singaporeans to remain calm. We will spare no effort to protect our people,” he added.
MOH also announced two other cases today involving the novel coronavirus. The two Singapore residents were among those who were evacuated from Wuhan earlier.