It was earlier reported on 6 Feb that Singapore became the 2nd most infected country after Japan outside of China, in the current COVID-19 coronavirus global epidemic.
However, with the 8 new cases reported in Singapore yesterday (13 Feb) , as well as cases on cruise ship Diamond Princess quarantined off Japanese coast being classified by World Health Organization (WHO) as located “on an international conveyance” instead of in Japan, Singapore has emerged to be the most infected country outside of China.
The total number of infected cases in Singapore stood at 58 as of yesterday. Countries such as Kuwait and Qatar have urged their citizens to avoid travelling to Singapore. Kuwait embassy in Singapore even made an announcement on 7 Feb asking its citizens to immediately get out of Singapore. South Korea and Israel have also issued travel advisories urging their citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Singapore.
The international news agency BNO News, which is based in the Netherlands, has been tracking the number of COVID-19 infections worldwide.
According to BNO News (13 February 2020 at 10:28 p.m. ET), the number of confirmed cases in Singapore has exceeded that of Hong Kong. A day earlier (12 Feb), Hong Kong and Singapore both had 50 infected cases each.
China itself currently has more than 60,000 infections with more than 1,400 deaths, surpassing the worldwide death toll of 774 from SARS.
Medical experts say number of cases in Singapore worrying
Experts said that Singapore’s high number of cases may be due to its advanced healthcare system, enabling it to identify cases swiftly.
“It is not just because the culture of transparency is stronger and motivation for learning higher, but the resources that can be invested in tracking events,” Jeremy Lim, a partner at global consultancy firm Oliver Wyman’s health and life sciences practice, told SCMP.
In neighboring Indonesia, by contrast, no coronavirus cases have been confirmed. Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health wrote that Indonesia’s lack of known instances “may suggest the potential for undetected cases.” However, Indonesia’s health minister has rejected this.
Still, some experts commented that the high number of cases in Singapore was reason to worry.
“Singapore has sustained community transmission despite most capable government on planet, best healthcare system on planet, and warm weather,” noted Richard Ebright, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Rutgers University.