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Double whammy of Covid-19 and dengue: On the minds of voters for coming elections?

Some unhappiness in the online community at the way the authorities have dealt with both of them




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Singapore — On June 3, the National Environment Agency (NEA) announced that the number of dengue cases in the last couple of months was the highest in the country since 2013. Just this week, the number of dengue cases passed the 10,000 mark.

The agency had announced on its website: “The number of dengue cases this year has risen sharply in the last four weeks, and is expected to exceed the 15,998 cases reported in 2019. The total number of dengue cases this year may even surpass the peak of 22,170 cases reported in 2013. Urgent collective community effort is critical, to prevent the number of dengue cases from rising further.”

A total of 12 people have died from dengue so far this year.

The agency gave three reasons for a spike in dengue cases and one of them saw a relationship between dengue and circuit breaker measures. It stated that, with Covid-19 and the circuit breaker, more people have been cooped up in their homes working remotely and practising Home-Based Learning. The main vector of dengue – the Aedes aegypti mosquito, is said to be most active indoors and during the day. This means that there are more people for the mosquito to prey on, especially in HDB areas where both the residential population and mosquito population are high.

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Mr Chew Ming Fai, Director-General of NEA’s Environmental Public Health Division, stated: “As we continue to manage the Covid-19 situation, we need to be mindful that dengue is another serious public health threat that Singapore faces. We have entered the traditional peak dengue season, when we experience the onset of warmer weather and see higher transmission of dengue in Singapore.”

Meanwhile, the double threat posed by dengue and Covid-19 may have some implications for the coming General Election. This is because there is some unhappiness in the online community at the way the authorities have dealt with both of them.

Some people feel that maintenance services, such as grass cutting in residential areas, should not have been ceased and should have been regarded as essential services during the circuit breaker.

On the other hand, others view the number of cases in each constituency as a reflection of the capabilities of the party running it.

However, the Member of Parliament for Hougang SMC, Mr Png Eng Huat of the opposition Workers’ Party, said on May 29 that mosquitoes were found breeding inside containers that were “hidden” in trees at a park in his constituency.

He said some of the containers were well-hidden, making it difficult for workers to spot and destroy them.

Mr Png sought the help of residents in the two blocks of flats overlooking the park to help the town council keep an eye on activities there. /TISG



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