World Wuhan virus likely to spread to Singapore, says Health GPC Chairman
201 cases of SARS-like virus reported throughout China, officials say
Chinese officials have announced 17 new cases of the new coronavirus, a SARS-like illness that began to spread in Wuhan, China, in December.In Wuhan, where the virus began to spread, 198 cases have been reported, according to the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission.
It may just be a matter of time for the Wuhan virus to spread from China to Singapore but this should not be a cause of alarm for Singaporeans, according to Dr Chia Shi-Lu, the Chairman of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Health.
reports that Dr Chia said on Tuesday (Jan 21) that the Wuhan virus is likely to spread here because many travellers go to and pass through Singapore.
He urged Singaporeans to stay vigilant.
Dr Chia said that “it is only a question of time, given that Singapore is a very open country and is seen as a travel hub … the possibility is very high”.
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There has been growing concern about the virus spreading to Singapore, especially as Chinese New Year celebrations will begin at the end of this week.
This terrifying graph shows how fast the Wuhan virus has spread so far, and how close it is to becoming a global pandemic
A simple graph shows just how fast the Wuhan coronavirus has spread over the last two weeks alone. The graph shows that the virus - also known as 2019-nCoV - could soon become a pandemic, as more and more cases are being found outside China. As of Wednesday, nine people have died and 440 are infected worldwide, according to China's health commission. Click here for Business Insider's full coverage of the Wuhan virus.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.An alarming graph shows how fast the Wuhan coronavirus has spread in the past two weeks alone and highlights how soon it could become a pandemic.
Dr Chia, who is also an MP for Tanjong Pagar GRC, gave the assurance that there are protocols for dealing with outbreaks of this nature, and that people need not panic. He added that Singapore has dealt with Sars and Zika in the past. He said: “We are well prepared and have the appropriate measures in place. This is nothing new, only the disease is new.”
One possible next step that Dr Chia mentioned is for an advisory to be issued by the Government against unnecessary travel to Wuhan.
Since the pathogen that causes the sickness is unknown, prudence is advised, said Dr Chia.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) will be discussing whether or not the outbreak should be deemed a global public health emergency, in the wake of three additional fatalities in Wuhan reported on Jan 21 linked to the mysterious virus.
The pathogen is believed to have come from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan in China’s Hubei province.
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Nearly 300 people have been diagnosed with pneumonia from the Wuhan virus. Six have died. Fifteen medical personnel have been infected by the virus, one of whom is critically ill.
The virus is now suspected to have been detected in people from various countries, such as Australia, Japan, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand, as well as in other cities in China.
In Singapore, there are seven cases of suspected Wuhan virus. The most recent was a woman who had travelled to Wuhan and contracted pneumonia.
On Jan 20, it was confirmed that the virus mutates and spreads from human to human.
On Jan 21, :
“From 22 January 2020, we have widened the definition of suspect cases to include persons with:
“(i) Pneumonia and travel history to China within 14 days before onset of symptoms; or
“(ii) Acute respiratory infection who had been to any hospital in China, within 14 days before onset of symptoms.
“These cases will be isolated in hospital as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission.
“From 22 January 2020, temperature screening at Changi Airport will also be expanded to all inbound travellers on flights arriving from China, and suspect cases meeting the expanded definition above will be referred to hospitals for further assessment. Health Advisory Notices will be issued to all travellers arriving at Changi Airport from China, and health advisory posters will also be distributed at land and sea checkpoints.
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Public health officials are tracking 2,000 people who flew from Wuhan, central China, into the United Kingdom as authorities rush to contain the coronavirus. More than 30 people were reportedly tested by English public health authorities after the virus was confirmed in nearby Europe, and all were confirmed as negative for the virus. Novel coronavirus, or 2019-nCoV, has killed 41 near the Chinese province marked as the epicentre of the outbreak, sickened nearly 1,300, and spread to 12 countries.
“MOH has also reminded doctors and healthcare workers to be vigilant, and maintain strict infection control and prevention measures.” -/TISG
Pictures: Coronavirus outbreak spreads in China (Reuters)
Coronavirus cases confirmed in all Chinese regions .
With one of the 7,711 confirmed cases reported in Tibet, the virus is now in every region of China.Chinese health authorities have said there were 7,711 confirmed cases in the country as of 29 January.