Two people died of the coronavirus in Singapore on Saturday morning, the first confirmed fatalities in the Southeast Asian nation.
They were a 75-year-old female Singaporean, and a 64-year-old Indonesian man, the island’s health ministry said.
The woman had a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension, and was in intensive care for 26 days, it said. The man arrived from Indonesia on March 13, and was in intensive care for nine days. He had been hospitalized in Indonesia for pneumonia prior to coming to Singapore, and had a history of heart disease, the city-state’s government said.
Singapore has been preparing for this eventuality for weeks, with government officials saying it was possible some patients in the city-state could succumb to the disease, regardless of the level of care they received.
While Singapore’s officials were credited with a swift, clear, and effective response in the early stages of the outbreak, the global spread of the virus has brought a new wave of challenges to the small and open city state. The number of infections has spiked in recent days, with new cases mainly from overseas arrivals to the country.
The virus has killed more than 10,000 people worldwide, eclipsing the global death toll from the SARS outbreak almost two decades ago. There were 385 cases in Singapore as of 12 p.m. on Friday, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.
Singapore raised its virus-response level last month to Orange, the second-highest grade and the same level as during the SARS epidemic. The designation means the disease is severe and spreads easily from person to person but is being contained in the city state, where it hasn’t spread widely.