Wuhan virus: Singaporean authorities ramp up border checks, urge citizens to keep calm and stay vigilant

Wuhan virus: Singaporean authorities ramp up border checks, urge citizens to keep calm and stay vigilant
Wuhan virus: Singaporean authorities ramp up border checks, urge citizens to keep calm and stay vigilant

Hello and welcome to the details of Wuhan virus: Singaporean authorities ramp up border checks, urge citizens to keep calm and stay vigilant and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A health officer screens arriving passengers from China at Changi International airport in Singapore on January 22, 2020, as authorities increased measure against coronavirus. — AFP pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 24 — Temperature screening exercises will be expanded beyond the Changi Airport to include land and sea checkpoints, the authorities announced yesterday, as Singapore confirmed its first imported case of the novel coronavirus.

The additional measures, which will be put in place from today, were made in an effort to enhance border checks against the virus, which has claimed 17 lives in China so far and has also spread to Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

But while Singapore is raising its guard against the virus, the authorities have advised members of the public to keep calm and remain vigilant while carrying on with their daily routines.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday confirmed that a 66-year-old Chinese national, who arrived in Singapore on January 20, has tested positive for the coronavirus. The patient is a resident of Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.

The ministry also said that a second Chinese national, a 53-year-old female from Wuhan, has tested positive for the coronavirus for her first sample. The patient has been classified as a preliminary case and a second confirmatory test is pending.

The news comes a day after the authorities announced the setting up of a multi-ministry taskforce — jointly led by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong — to deal with the escalating coronavirus situation.

The taskforce met yesterday evening and decided that there is a need to “step up our overall posture” and enhance border checks, Wong said yesterday.

“I think this is necessary given the rapidly escalating situation, and also the high volume of travel that we expect during the Chinese New Year period,” he said.

However, Wong stressed that the temperature screenings are not foolproof.

“The virus has an incubation period and at the start of infection, you may be infected but you may not show symptoms at all. So it will not show up through the temperature screening checks,” he said.

Individual social responsibility key to prevent virus from spreading

The public, on their part, can protect themselves by observing personal hygiene and behaving in a socially responsible way, said Health Minister Gan.

This means washing their hands frequently, while those who are ill should see a doctor as soon as possible, wear a mask and avoid social contact.

“This will not only protect yourself but also protect your loved ones,” Gan said.

The taskforce, which also involves the transport, manpower and education ministries, is coordinating and putting in place a “system of multiple layers of defence”, Wong said.

It will also aim to put out information on the coronavirus situation as quickly as possible.

“I hope Singaporeans will cooperate by not spreading rumours or unverified information, because that can lead to undue alarm and it will cause confusion, especially if the information is not accurate and later turns out to be false,” Wong said.

Even as the coronavirus situation is escalating rapidly, he urged the public to remain calm and carry on with their lives.

“Chinese New Year is coming. By all means, continue with your celebrations and your visits, but stay alert, stay vigilant and don’t let your guard down,” he said. — TODAY

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