SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore has started charging visitors for coronavirus treatment, the city-state said as it reported three new imported infections, two of which involved Indonesians.

Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most populous country, reported its first virus case earlier this month and officially has just 19 infections compared to 160 in Singapore. Disease experts have questioned how many cases go undiagnosed in Indonesia.

Singapore’s new measures announced late Monday came into effect on March 7, when authorities said two symptomatic Indonesian travelers arrived in Singapore.

Both had reported coronavirus symptoms in Indonesia before arriving in Singapore. One had previously sought treatment at a hospital in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta.

Another case involved a Singaporean who had visited her sister in Indonesia who had pneumonia.

Declaring its new stance on payment for treatment, the health ministry did not mention these specific cases.

“In view of the rising number of COVID-19 infections globally, and the expected rise in the number of confirmed cases in Singapore, we will need to prioritise the resources at our public hospitals,” the health ministry said in a statement.

Foreigners who are short-term visit pass holders who seek treatment for COVID-19 in Singapore need to pay but testing for the virus remains free.

Treatment of severe respiratory infections in Singapore public hospitals typically cost between S$6,000 – S$8,000 ($4,300-5,800), according to the Ministry of Health’s website.

Of 33 imported cases reported by Singapore to date, 24 involve travel to China – where the virus first surfaced late last year – three to Indonesia and the others to Italy, Britain, France and Germany.

Researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, in the United States, said in a study last month that Indonesia should strengthen outbreak surveillance and control.

The Harvard team said Indonesia’s lack of confirmed cases at that time “may suggest the potential for undetected cases” as air travel may contribute to cases being exported from China.

Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan and John Geddie; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Canadian coronavirus cases grow and spread as once-effective unity frays

TORONTO — For the Canadian prime minister, it was a reversal of sorts. Justin Trudeau had said he was not in the business of judging whether some provinces had mismanaged the coronavirus pandemic. Now he was suggesting otherwise. “I would…

Belarus just ordered U.S. oil for the first time. It was a message to Russia.

MOSCOW — When Belarus ordered its first shipment of U.S. oil earlier this month, it was more than just an energy deal. It was a message to Moscow: One of Russia’s most reliable allies was testing its ties with the…

Country’s coronavirus death toll passes 75,000

The UK’s total Covid death toll has passed 75,000, according to a tally of all fatalities that mention the disease on death certificates. The grim milestone comes just over a month after the UK surpassed 60,000 deaths in late October,…

Mining giant withdraws plans for C$20bn tar sands project

A Canadian mining giant has withdrawn plans for a massive C$20.6bn ($15.7bn) tar sands mine, days before the federal government was to decide on whether to approve the controversial project. Teck Resources’ surprise decision to withdraw from open pit Frontier…