Singapore—In the wake of three new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Singapore in a twenty-four-hour span, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong posted a message to the public regarding the spread of the virus, which originated in Wuhan, a city in central China and has thus far affected around 6,000 individuals, with a death toll of 132.
PM Lee sought to assure the public that measures are being made to ensure that Singapore is well-prepared at this time.
The Prime Minister, who posted his message late on Tuesday afternoon (Jan 28), said that he had been receiving numerous messages abut the virus, and assured that he understood well the concern people have for themselves and their loved ones in Singapore and other countries.
He acknowledged the swift progression of events in relation to the Wuhan virus, and said that the government’s contingency plan has been set in motion.
PM Lee added that the country’s healthcare system is well prepared, and has been getting ready for this type of situation since the SARS outbreak over 15 years ago.
He also told the public that hard work is being done all over the world to find a cure for the virus.
“Meanwhile, scientists and medical professionals across the world are working around the clock to understand the virus and develop a vaccine. Experts think the Wuhan virus may be less lethal than SARS, but more infectious. Patients who are infected may possibly be contagious before symptoms show. If true, this will make it harder to screen and detect new cases, and to stop the spread.”
He then went on to say that there is not yet a local transmission or community spread of the novel coronavirus in Singapore, and that all the people in the country so far who have tested positive for the virus are from Hubei and are Chinese nationals.
PM Lee added that recent travellers from Hubei, as well as those who have PRC passports issued from there, are no longer allowed entry or transit into Singapore. He said that Singaporeans who have recently visited Hubei or those who have long-term passes, will be quarantined.
The Prime Minister urged the public to stay calm and to practice good hygiene in order to prevent pathogens from spreading, and to consult a doctor immediately if they feel unwell.
He added that the wearing of masks is unnecessary if one is not sick.
PM Lee also urged the public to refrain from listening to fake news about the virus, since there is much of it going around especially on social media and messaging apps such as WhatsApp.
“Sharing news responsibly is an important way we can protect ourselves,” he wrote, adding web pages from the Ministry of Health, Channel NewsAsia (CNA), The Straits Times, government website Factually, and the government’s What’sApp push notification. -/TISG
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