No Signs of Middle East Respiratory Virus in Singapore

By Poon Chian Hui | Source: The Straits Times
Singapore has tested 51 people for the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) coronavirus and none of them showed any sign of the disease, the nation’s Health Ministry said yesterday.
Most of them are Singaporeans, and had been treated at public hospitals. Their ages range from seven to 90, the ministry’s spokesman added.

Earlier, Parliamentary Secretary for Health Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim told parliament that measures are in place to ring-fence the killer virus should it strike Singapore.

All suspected and confirmed cases will be isolated and the ministry will conduct contact tracing when needed.

Also, people who have been in close contact with confirmed cases will be quarantined.

In addition, eight holiday chalets in Pasir Ris have been put on standby since June 17 as a possible quarantine location.

The national stockpile of N95 masks, which had been partially released to the public during the haze, is being replenished as well.

Associate Professor Faishal told the house that the risk of a heavy toll on public health from an imported case remains low.

So far, the World Health Organisation has reported 80 cases of the Mers virus worldwide, with 44 deaths.

Many of the cases reported were in countries such as Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Italy.

Meanwhile, Haj and Umrah pilgrims travelling to Saudi Arabia, where the virus has been active, have been given health advisories, said Faishal.

“All pilgrims are advised to avoid close contact with persons suffering from acute respiratory infections and to adopt good food safety and hygiene practices to reduce the risk of being infected.”

Pilgrims are also required to go for medical checks and get vaccine jabs, like for influenza.

Both the Health Ministry and the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore are in contact with local travel agents organising the trips, through the Association of Muslim Travel Agents Singapore.

The move is to ensure the ministry is alerted early to possible cases of the virus, said Faishal.