Singapore Beefs Up Measures Against MERS

Singapore will begin temperature screening at air checkpoints for passengers arriving from South Korea from Tuesday (Jun 9), 7.00pm, as an additional precautionary measure against the MERS virus.

Travellers flying to Singapore from South Korea will also receive health advisories starting from Tuesday, announced the Republic’s Ministry of Health (MOH) in a news release.

Currently, there is temperature screening at air checkpoints for passengers arriving from the Middle East, and travellers arriving from or heading to the Middle East receive health advisories. All hospitals in Singapore stand ready to screen and isolate suspect cases, the ministry added.

Passengers with fever detected at the temperature screening stations will be referred to a designated area for further clinical assessment. A medical practitioner will recheck the traveller’s temperature and ask about his or her travel history, or any history of contact with a MERS patient, and check for symptoms of lung infection or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness.

If the traveller fulfils the criteria for a suspected case of MERS, he or she will be referred to Tan Tock Seng Hospital for further evaluation and tests. Children under the age of 16 will be referred to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

If the passenger does not fulfil the criteria, he or she will receive a surgical mask and a health advisory, and will be placed on phone surveillance until the symptoms resolve. If the traveller’s condition worsens, he or she will be advised to seek medical attention promptly.

The ministry advised Singaporeans to monitor their health closely for two weeks upon returning from a MERS-affected area.

It added that Singaporeans returning from MERS-affected areas need not undergo self-quarantine if they have no symptoms of illness, but they should wear a surgical mask and seek medical help if they come down with fever and cough. They may be isolated for observation and further investigations for up to 48 hours.

South Korea on Tuesday reported its seventh death from the virus and 23 new cases in the largest outbreak outside Saudi Arabia.

Singapore’s Ministry of Education earlier announced that all school trips to South Korea have been postponed or cancelled due to the growing number of reported cases in the country.

“To date, there is no case of MERS-CoV in Singapore, but the possibility of an imported case here cannot be ruled out given today’s globalised travel patterns,” MOH said. It stressed that even if there is an imported case, the risk of an outbreak remains low as sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been reported.



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