Screening at Changi Airport for travellers from South Korea
Singapore has started temperature screening at air checkpoints for passengers arriving from South Korea.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said this was a "precautionary measure" for the early detection of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) from the country.
The ministry said that it noted with concern the surge in the number of Mers cases confirmed in South Korea and continued news of reported breaches in containment and quarantine measures there.
The measure kicked in at 7pm on Tuesday (June 9). Health advisories will also be distributed to these travellers.
There has been temperature screening at air checkpoints since May 18 last year for passengers arriving from the Middle East.
Health advisories have also been distributed at border checkpoints for travellers coming from and going to the Middle East.
"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," said MOH.
"However, even if there is an imported case, the risk of an outbreak in our community remains low as sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been reported."
Most people infected with the virus develop severe respiratory illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath.
The fatality rate for Mers is 30 to 40 per cent, and its incubation period is two to 14 days, experts say. There is no cure or vaccine.
It was first identified in humans in 2012.
Mers is considered a deadlier but less infectious cousin of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) virus which appeared in Asia in 2003 and killed hundreds of people.
Sources: AFP, Reuters
Advisory from MOH:
To reduce the risk of exposure to MERS, Singaporeans are advised to adopt the following health precautions when overseas:
- Observe good personal hygiene at all times
- Wash your hands frequently
- Consider wearing a surgical mask in crowded places
- Avoid close contact with persons suffering from acute respiratory infections (for example, someone who is coughing)
- Avoid contact with camels and other live farm or wild animals
- Adopt good food safety and hygiene practices and avoid consuming unpasteurised milk, undercooked meats, raw fruits and vegetables (unless they have been peeled), or unsafe water
- Avoid visiting healthcare institutions in the Middle East and South Korea, unless it is necessary to do so
What to do on your return from an area with Mers:
- Monitor your health closely for two weeks
- You need not self-quarantine if you have no symptoms of illness
- Wear a surgical mask and seek medical attention promptly if you become unwell with fever and cough; Inform the doctor of the areas you had visited