Singapore

Another 26 Zika cases confirmed

Another 26 more cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infections were confirmed as of noon yesterday. This brings the tally to 82 cases reported since Saturday.

A joint statement from the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) yesterday evening said that of the new cases, 17 people live or work in the Sims Drive and Aljunied Crescent area, and five live or work in Kallang Way and Paya Lebar Way, just north of the affected cluster.

MOH and NEA are investigating the remaining four cases for their links to the affected area.

NEA said it has inspected about 5,000 premises out of an estimated 6,000 premises in the Aljunied Crescent and Sims Drive cluster to check for mosquito breeding.

The statement said that 39 breeding habitats - 23 in homes and 16 in common areas and other premises - have been detected and destroyed.

NEA will also be starting vector control operations and outreach efforts in Kallang Way and Paya Lebar Way.

CLOSE WATCH 
ON WORKSITES

Checks of worksites around Singapore have also been stepped up after the Sims Drive construction site saw 39 workers contracting Zika, reported The Straits Times Online.

Main contractor Woh Hup has installed about 500 mosquito traps - up from 50 - around the workers' dormitories and throughout the Sims Urban Oasis condominium's construction site.

Workers are required to have their temperatures taken twice a day, while three layers of protection have been enforced - mosquito repellent, mosquito patches and a Parakito longer-term patch.

Netting has been added to the dormitory's windows.

These additional measures were observed by Minister of State for Manpower Teo Ser Luck, who visited the site at 60, Sims Drive yesterday.

"We're quite glad they reinforced the preventive measures... (and) they made sure that every single worker understands the seriousness of the issue,"said Mr Teo, adding that his ministry had sent out advisories to site operators and would step up inspections.

"We need all operators to reinforce their preventive measures right now to assure the community, the workers on the sites as well, that although the symptoms may be mild, we can't take anything for granted."

A Stop Work Order was issued to the 23,000 sq m site last Saturday, after its housekeeping was found to be unsatisfactory with potential habitats favourable to mosquito breeding.

Misting and thermal fogging were also conducted.

TRAVELLERS TOLD TO STAY AWAY 


Australia, Taiwan and South Korea advised pregnant women and those trying to get pregnant to avoid travelling to Singapore because of the Zika outbreak, and that those returning from the city state should avoid pregnancy for two months.

The outbreak and the warnings come as a potential blow to tourism, Reuters reported.

This comes as the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) yesterday announced that international visitor arrivals jumped by 14 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the same period last year, to reach 4.1 million visitors.

STB told Reuters that it was monitoring developments, adding that Singapore remained a "safe travel destination", and it was premature to consider any impact.

Malaysia and Indonesia have stepped up protective measures, introducing thermal scanners at airports and border checkpoints.

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