Yesterday, Singapore authorities announced the country’s first fatalities to COVID-19 infection. According to the Ministry of Health, the two cases who passed away due to complications due to COVID-19 infection on Saturday (21 March) morning are Case 90, a 75 year-old female Singapore Citizen and Case 212, a 64-year-old Indonesian man.
It was reported in the media that Case 212 was first hospitalised in Jakarta for pneumonia before he came to Singapore to seek treatments. In other words, he was already ill when he arrived in Singapore on 13 Mar.
According to an earlier statement from the Ministry of Health (MOH), the man reported onset of symptoms on 9 March in Indonesia before he was hospitalised in a Jakarta hospital for “pneumonia”.
Following that, he travelled to Singapore to seek treatments. Upon arrival in Singapore on 13 Mar, he had sought treatment at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital, and was referred to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on the same day. Subsequent test results confirmed him being infected with COVID-19 the next day on 14 Mar.
Prior to hospital admission, he stayed at Ibis Hotel Novena (6 Irrawaddy Road). MOH has classified Case 212 as an imported one.
On Wed (18 Mar), MOH also revealed that Case 289, a 62-year-old Singaporean was infected with COVID-19 and was linked to Case 212, the Indonesian.
The Singaporean man has been classified by MOH as a locally transmitted case. It’s not known how the Singaporean was infected by the Indonesian.
Before the Indonesian passed away, he has apparently also infected one of his family members, a 64-year-old Indonesian woman listed as a newly imported Case 415 by MOH yesterday.
It is not aware how Case 212 managed to pass the customs and turn up at Mount Elizabeth Hospital.
Since 4 March 2020, travellers entering Singapore and exhibiting fever and/or other symptoms of respiratory illness are required to undergo a COVID-19 swab test at the checkpoint, regardless of travel history. All such travellers will also be issued a 14-day SHN, which they will have to serve in full even if the result of the swab test is negative. Those who meet the clinical suspect case definition will be conveyed to the hospital for follow-up.
In any case, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on his Facebook page yesterday, telling Singaporeans to brace themselves for more losses.
“As we get more COVID-19 cases, more patients will need ICU care, and we must brace ourselves for more losses,” he said.
“Everyone needs to support and comply with the measures we have put in place. We must work together to keep ourselves, our families, and Singapore safe.”
It was earlier announced on last Sunday (15 Mar) that Singapore will further put in place additional border restriction measures, as more imported cases of COVID-19 are being discovered in Singapore. Presently, the number of imported cases has exceeded that of the locally transmitted ones.
With the new restrictions, all travellers entering Singapore with recent travel history to ASEAN countries, Japan, Switzerland, or the UK within the last 14 days will be issued with a 14-day Stay-Home Notice (SHN). In addition, they will have to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day SHN, for example a hotel booking covering the entire period, or a place of residence they or their family members own.
“This is because of the risk of community transmission in these countries and evidence of cases that have been imported from these countries into Singapore,” MOH said.