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Coronavirus

Singapore reports first deaths in coronavirus battle

City-state confirms 385 cases so far, with 131 recovered, health minister says

A thermal scanning checkpoint is manned by security personnel at the entrance to Gardens by the Bay's Cloud Forest as a preventive measure against the coronavirus disease outbreak in Singapore, on March 6.   © Reuters

SINGAPORE (Reuters) -- Singapore reported two coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday of people with underlying health conditions, marking the first fatalities in the city-state's widely praised battle against the infection.

The health ministry said a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian man died on Saturday morning.

Singapore has confirmed 385 cases of the infection and had so far managed to avoid any fatalities since the outbreak began in the city-state in late January.

"I know Singaporeans will be worried and anxious. But we must take courage and not give into our fears," Gan Kim Yong, Singapore's health minister, told reporters.

As of Friday, 131 cases of Singapore's total had fully recovered from the infection.

The Singaporean woman who died had a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension. She had been in intensive care for 26 days.

Prior to the Indonesian man's arrival in Singapore on March 13, he had been hospitalised in Indonesia for pneumonia, and had a history of heart disease. He died after nine days in intensive care in Singapore.

Singapore has been stepping up its social distancing measures, including suspending all gatherings of 250 people or more and advising companies to ask staff to work from home.

All, including citizens and residents, entering the country are required to self quarantine for 14 days. It has also advised its citizens against any travel outside the city-state.

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