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Singapore's Filipino coronavirus patient 'in stable condition'

SINGAPORE – The Singaporean Ministry of Health (MOH) said the first Filipino novel coronavirus patient is now in stable condition as of Monday, February 24.

His identity remains anonymous due to Singapore's privacy laws.

"We have verified with the MOH that the patient is in stable condition in the hospital," said Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Joseph Yap in a media briefing Monday afternoon, February 24.

Yap said the Singapore government has not disclosed the identity of the Filipino. The most that Singapore has relayed to the Philippine embassy is that the Filipino is a male 41-year-old permanent resident of the city-state. The patient does not have a recent travel history to China.

Yap also confirmed that the Filipino is Singapore's Case 89 of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The MOH provided information about Case 89 in its novel coronavirus bulletin on Sunday, February 23. Below is an excerpt from the MOH bulletin, as quoted verbatim:

6. Case 89 is a 41 year-old male Singapore Permanent Resident who has no recent travel history to China. He is currently warded in an isolation room at the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID).

7. He reported onset of symptoms on 3 February and had sought treatment at two general practitioner (GP) clinics on 3 February, 7 February, 10 February, 17 February and 21 February. He was referred to NCID on 21 February, and subsequent test results confirmed COVID-19 infection on 22 February morning.

8. Prior to hospital admission, he had gone to work at Affinity Equity Partners (S) Pte Ltd (8 Temasek Boulevard) and visited Bishan Community Club (51 Bishan Street 13). He stays at Serangoon Avenue 3.

Travel ban not recommended

Yap said that despite Case 89, he is not recommending travel restrictions against Singapore because the novel coronavirus situation here is improving. Earlier, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr also said he is opposing a travel ban to Singapore, citing the city-state's capacity to handle the outbreak.

"I know it's one case that hits close to home because it's a kababayan (countryman) who is ill, but on the other hand, in terms of the bigger picture in the whole of Singapore, I think the situation is better now than it was one or two weeks ago," Yap said.

In an earlier phone interview with Rappler, Yap advised Filipinos, "I think we should just continue to be careful, to be cautious, but there's no reason to be panicking."

In the first few weeks after Singapore got its first case of COVID-19, the city-state had the highest number of novel coronavirus cases outside China. It has since been overtaken by South Korea and Japan.

Singapore has at least 89 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, according to data from the Singaporean government as of Sunday evening. Of these cases, 65 contracted the virus in Singapore while 24 got it outside the country.

The Singaporean government said 49 patients have been discharged, 35 are stable, and 5 others remain in critical condition. No one has died due to the virus in Singapore. – Rappler.com

Paterno R. Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.

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