The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced Singapore’s first locally transmitted Zika case on Sunday afternoon. By yesterday (31 Aug) afternoon the number of cases had spiralled to over a hundred cases. Two cluster areas have also been identified. Several countries including the USA have issued travel warnings to Singapore.
Five days after MOH’s announcement, PM Lee has commented on the infection in his Facebook. He said that his Government has been “tracking Zika for a while now, and knew it was only a matter of time before it reached Singapore.” He said that for most people Zika infection is is mild, and in fact often causes no symptoms at all.
He said that pregnant women women, like they are vulnerable to other viral infection like dengue and chicken pox, are at risk to Zika as well. PM asked pregnant women to take necessary precautions against the infection and get tested if they show symptoms.
Besides the two identified clusters, Mr Lee asked Singaporeans to assume that Zika is elsewhere in Singapore too.
“Our best defence is to eradicate mosquitos and destroy breeding habitats, all over Singapore,” he said.
He advised: “Do the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout. Let’s all do our part to fight Zika, and dengue as well.”
Netizens who commented on PM Lee’s post though don’t seem assuaged by his assurance that the infection is a mild one.
Some like Shu Hua and Joel Siah pointed out that there seems to be shortage of insect repellents in retail outlets.
Shu Hua: “Dear PM Lee, I’m pregnant and I have trouble finding insect repellent with deet as it is sold out everywhere. Can u specially cater for us pregnant ladies to buy? Thank u.”
Joel Siah: “I went to Guardian, Watsons and NTUC to hunt for repellent. Shelves are empty and staff are not able to advise when stock will be replenished. Why can’t this basic protection item be readily available? We are not even expecting it to be given to us for free!”