Gan Kim Yong

The Ministry of Health revealed that a 77-year-old Singaporean (labelled case 126) has contracted the virus from an infected patient sleeping in the same ward (case 109) at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH):

“They were placed in the same acute respiratory isolation ward at SGH, where beds were almost 3m apart from each other, from Feb 29 to March 1. This was a special ward that is different from wards used to treat Covid-19 patients, for patients who do not meet the case definitions for coronavirus infection but suffer from respiratory tract infections. There is a suspicion that the two cases are linked, and it may have been linked with a spread of infection possibly from one case to another. We still have to confirm this and prove this.”

The Health Minister did not explain why are the patients with respiratory symptoms not given a test or isolated in holding rooms.

Investigations are now ongoing as the two did not have any physical interactions. However, the Singapore government refused to isolate patients with respiratory symptoms:

“We believe it is still safe for patients with respiratory symptoms to be placed in the same ward.”

There are now a total of 150 confirmed cases in Singapore, with over 105 cases transmitted locally. The Singapore Police and Ministry of Health is unable to find the source of local infection.