Singapore rolls out measures to prevent spread of Wuhan virus in schools, childcare centres

Singapore rolls out measures to prevent spread of Wuhan virus in schools, childcare centres
Singapore rolls out measures to prevent spread of Wuhan virus in schools, childcare centres

Hello and welcome to the details of Singapore rolls out measures to prevent spread of Wuhan virus in schools, childcare centres and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A file photo of children learning to wash their hands thoroughly in preschool. The Ministry of Education said that keeping up good hygiene habits is extremely important, after the first imported case of the new coronavirus was reported in Singapore on Jan 23, 2020. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Jan 24 — As Singapore confirms its first case of the Wuhan coronavirus and families take overseas trips this long weekend for the Chinese New Year holidays, schools here have been alerted to take enhanced precautions.

The Ministry of Education (MOE) said in a statement yesterday night that it is moving into a phase of “enhanced preparedness”, where schools including MOE Kindergartens, and institutes of higher learning will take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of students and employees.

All students and staff members will have to declare their overseas trips or travel plans.

For those who have travelled to China, they will be advised to monitor their health and take their temperatures regularly for two weeks upon their return.

The new coronavirus has since claimed 17 lives in China and infected hundreds of others both in China and elsewhere.

The outbreak was first reported in Wuhan of China’s Hubei province, and it is believed to be linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market that also sells live animals.

MOE said: “We will also take the necessary precautions for student trips. There are no student trips to Hubei province planned currently. As for other parts of China, there are none for the month of February.”

The ministry also said that it had issued advisories to remind all school students and staff members to monitor their health and practise good personal hygiene.”

Keeping up good hygiene habits have now become “extremely important”, it stressed.

This includes:

Washing their hands frequently with soap

If sick, see a doctor, then stay at home and return to school only when fully recovered;

Wearing a surgical mask if they have a cough or runny nose to prevent infecting others.

MOE is working closely with MOH, and will monitor the situation and advise schools, the polytechnics and Institutes of Technical Education (ITEs) to postpone trips in March and later, if necessary.

Preschools, childcare centres informed 

The day before, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said that it has issued advisories to preschools and student care centres to inform them of the precautionary measures they have to take to ensure the well-being of children and employees.

The Early Childhood Development Agency has also reminded preschools to be vigilant in conducting health checks and to monitor the health of children and staff members, and to encourage them to observe good personal and environmental hygiene.

MSF said that as infants and young children are more vulnerable to infectious diseases, preschool employees and workers are advised to defer travel to Wuhan during this period.

It added that parents are reminded not to send their child to school if the child is sick, as infectious diseases can be spread from person to person or through surfaces contaminated by sick individuals.

“Sick children and staff should rest at home and only return to school or work once they have fully recovered,” the ministry said, adding that it is working closely with the community-based and residential facilities under its purview to ensure that the necessary precautionary measures are taken.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong had announced on Wednesday a multi-ministry taskforce to tackle the outbreak.

The taskforce, led by Gan and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, was set up given the high volume of human traffic moving in and out of Singapore.

They are supported by the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Manpower as well.

Servicemen to be vigilant 

The Ministry of Defence (Mindef) said that it had disseminated a medical advisory on the viral pneumonia outbreak in Wuhan more than a week ago, advising those with flu-like symptoms to seek medical attention and highlight their travel history to their unit medical officers.

A second medical advisory was put out on Tuesday to remind them of what was said in the first.

It also urged its personnel to remain vigilant, adopt good personal hygiene practices and to regularly check MOH’s websites for updates when travelling overseas.

The medical advisories are in addition to the ongoing temperature-taking regime in the Singapore Armed Forces to detect soldiers who are unwell before training.

Those with temperatures above 37.5°C will have to go for medical evaluation.

MOH has advised Singaporeans against travelling to Wuhan as the Chinese authorities said that it is shutting down all urban transport networks and suspending outgoing flights from the city.

A second city — Huanggang, located about 70km from Wuhan — has also been put on lockdown as yesterday, while the railway station in Ezhou will close from midnight the same day.

Temperature screening exercises have been expanded to include land and sea checkpoints in an effort to enhance border checks for the new coronavirus, the authorities said yesterday.

As it stands now, those who have pneumonia and developed symptoms within 14 days after travelling to China will be isolated. 

Those who have acute respiratory infection and developed symptoms within 14 days after being in any hospital in China will also be isolated. 

These suspected cases will be isolated in hospital as a precautionary measure to prevent transmission. — TODAY

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