Singapore

Parents stock up on patches, sprays to keep mozzies away

She diligently pastes mosquito repellent patches on her children's uniforms before they leave home every morning.

Every 30 minutes, mosquito repellent is sprayed in her home through automatic diffusers she has installed in the kitchen, the study room and the living room.

The mother of two Yu Neng Primary School pupils, who wanted to be known only as Mrs Goh, has taken these precautionary measures to ward off aedes mosquitoes.


ON GUARD: Mrs Goh making sure her children, Sherwin and Sharice, wear mosquito patches on their school uniforms. TNP PHOTO: PHYLLICIA WANG

Yu Neng Primary School and Red Swastika School are among several schools in a potential Zika cluster in the Bedok North Avenue 3 area.

This potential cluster was identified at a joint press briefing by National Environment Agency (NEA) and Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday.

AVOID HOTSPOTS

Concerned parents told The New Paper yesterday that they avoid taking their children to Zika hot spots.

Mrs Goh, 32, said: "We usually eat at the Aljunied Crescent coffee shops at least once a week. But now we avoid that area."

The tuition teacher, whose family lives in the Bedok North cluster, has also told her children, aged seven and nine, about the Zika virus.

"I've been putting the mosquito repellent patches on my children since the news on Zika broke last week. I use repellent spray for myself and my husband. I've also asked my maid to burn mosquito coils at home every day," she said.

"At first, my kids were embarrassed to put on the patch. They told me, 'Mummy, I'm not a preschooler.'

"But I let them watch the news and now they know how serious it is. Mosquitoes are dangerous."

At Red Swastika School, another parent, Mr Teo Teck Wee, 36, has similar concerns.

After reading the news about the Bedok North cluster yesterday morning, the interior designer and his wife pasted repellent patches on their children, aged seven and nine, before letting them leave for school.

Mr Teo said: "They are still young and not really aware of the dangers but my wife and I are trying hard to educate them on the importance of using insect repellent."

He will also ensure that his kids spend minimal time outdoors during the school holidays next week.

The principal of Red Swastika School, Mrs Jenny Leong, said the school has taken measures to prevent mosquito breeding and will ensure that they are carried out regularly.

Pupils and staff of Red Swastika School have also been reminded to monitor their health and protect themselves by applying insect repellent regularly.

Yu Neng Primary School principal Clara Lim-Tan told TNP that an NEA inspection team visited the school yesterday morning to check for mosquito breeding in the premises.

The school did its monthly fogging a fortnight ago and scheduled another one for yesterday afternoon.

"The safety and well-being of our pupils and staff continue are of our utmost priority," said Mrs Lim-Tan.

"We will continue to take guidance from MOH's health advisory and work with relevant authorities to ensure that appropriate measures are taken for the protection of our pupils and staff."

Mr Lim Yu Kee, principal of Bedok Green Secondary, which is also in the potential cluster, said the school will increase its anti-mosquito measures to respond to the heightened risk.

Despite the precautionary measures, some parents are resigned to the inevitable spread of Zika.

Madam Caroline Kwan, 45, whose two children go to Red Swastika School, said: "I do not want Zika to spread here, but I think it's only a matter of time.

"What we should all focus on now is playing our part in preventing mosquitoes from breeding and reduce the spread of Zika as well as dengue."

Zika Virusmosquitobedok