Two persons, including a woman, became the first fatalities of the coronavirus pandemic in Singapore, health ministry said on Saturday as the country announced a slew of measures to prevent the spread of the deadly disease that has infected 385 people in the island nation.
Singapore on Friday confirmed 40 new COVID-19 cases, including 30 imported infections, taking the total number to 385 in the country. The two fatalities included a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian man who died on Saturday, the health ministry said. The woman was linked to the cluster at the Life Church and Missions Singapore and had a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension, reported the Channel News Asia.
She showed the COVID-19 symptoms on February 9 and was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on February 23 for pneumonia and tested positive for the disease on the same day. She developed serious complications and died at about 7.50am.
The man, who had a history of heart disease, was admitted in a critical condition at NCID on March 13, after arriving in Singapore from Indonesia and passed away at 10.15am.
Prior to his arrival in Singapore, he had been hospitalised in Indonesia for pneumonia. While we all know that there will be fatalities in COVID-19 patients. We are deeply saddened by their passing," Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said.
"I know Singaporeans will be worried and anxious. We must take courage and not give in to our fears. We have announced a series of safe distancing measures yesterday and we must all take the necessary precautions to keep ourselves and our families safe," he said.
Out of the 385 cases in Singapore, a total of 131 have fully recovered from the infection. Of the 254 confirmed cases who are still in hospital, most are stable or improving. To reduce the risk of local transmissions, authorities on Friday ordered all events and gatherings with 250 or more participants to be suspended.
New safe distancing measures were introduced for public venues such as retail shops and restaurants to ensure separation of at least 1 metre between customers. A new TraceTogether mobile app was also launched to help with contact tracing efforts.
According to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus tracker, the death toll from the virus globally has risen to 11,397 with more than 275,427 cases reported in over 160 countries and territories.