Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Saturday (March 21) confirmed Singapore's first two Covid-19 deaths.
Both of these individuals had underlying health conditions, he said in a brief announcement to media on Saturday morning.
The first patient, Case 90, was a 75-year-old female Singaporean.
She was admitted to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) on Feb. 23 for pneumonia and was confirmed to have Covid-19 infection on the same day.
She developed serious complications, and eventually succumbed to the infection after 26 days in the ICU on Mar. 21 at 7:52am. She has a history of chronic heart disease and hypertension.
The second patient, Case 212, was a 64-year-old male Indonesian national.
He developed serious complications and eventually succumbed to the infection after nine days in the ICU on March 21 at 10:15am.
Prior to his arrival in Singapore on March 13, he was also hospitalised in Indonesia for pneumonia and had a history of heart disease.
There are currently 385 Covid-19 cases in Singapore as of Friday, March 20.
16 were in critical condition in the intensive care unit at the time, including the two patients who died.
Gan: Deeply saddened by their passing
Gan said that he was "deeply saddened by their passing", and their thoughts are with their families during this difficult time.
"We will render all necessary assistance to their families. I understand that Singaporeans will be affected by this news. But we must take coverage and continue to play our part to fight this virus".
Watch him breaking the news to media here:His full remarks are transcribed here:
"Two patients in our National Centre for Infectious Diseases have passed away this morning due to complications arising from Covid-19 infection, despite the best efforts of our medical team to care for them. Our thoughts are with their families and their loved ones during these difficult moments. I have asked NCID to render all assistance as necessary to their family members.
The first patient has an underlying history of heart diseases as well as hypertension. She developed serious complications and eventually succumbed to the disease after 26 days in the ICU. The second patient was admitted to ICU in critical condition after arriving from Indonesia. He had an underlying history of heart disease and also eventually succumbed to the disease after 9 days in the ICU. While we all know that there will be fatalities in Covid-19 patients, we are deeply saddened by their passing.
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 precautious to keep ourselves and our families safe. We must stay united, work together, support one another, look out for each other. This way by staying together we will be able to prevail and overcome the Covid-19 infection."
Inevitable that S'pore will experience a fatality
In a press conference two weeks ago (March 6), Gan, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force set up to combat the spread of the virus, said that it is inevitable that Singapore will see a fatality from Covid-19.
"So far our healthcare workers are working very hard and trying their best to support them and hopefully they can recover. But it's inevitable that at some point in time, we will see fatalities from Covid-19, as we've seen all around the world," he said.
Left photo by Syahindah Ishak, right image screenshot from Google Street View