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Wuhan virus: WP urges public to “not give in to fear-mongering by speculating, spreading rumours”

Opposition party pledges full support for multi-ministry task force dealing with the outbreak

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Singapore — The Workers’ Party (WP), referring to the Wuhan virus outbreak, has urged the public to “not give in to fear-mongering by speculating and spreading rumours”.

In a statement on Wednesday morning (Jan 29), the opposition party also pledged full support for the multi-ministry task force on the Wuhan virus outbreak.

It called the outbreak, which has affected nearly 6,000 people and killed 132 in China, “a new development that is serious and concerning”, and said, “we give the task force our full support during this trying period”.

The party joined the call for the public to exercise caution and maintain good personal hygiene, and to keep updated with advisories from the Ministry of Health (MOH). It reminded the public to seek medical help at once if they feel unwell.

The WP also urged unity at this time. It said: “We have to stay united, and heed instructions given by the various ministries, especially that from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Manpower, and the Ministry of Education. Most importantly, we urge everyone to remain calm, and not to give in to fear-mongering by speculating or spreading rumours online. If you have any doubts, please refer to official announcements or news from major news outlets.”

The party thanked frontline medical personnel and border staff who have “worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of Singaporeans”, adding that “we stand behind them in this nation-wide effort to tackle the coronavirus”.

As of Tuesday evening (Jan 28), two new cases of the virus were confirmed in Singapore, bringing the total to seven. With three confirmed cases within the last 24 hours, the MOH noted that the trend of infection among Chinese nationals from Hubei province in Singapore is accelerating, in line with the sharp increase in global infection rates. It said this presented a heightened risk to Singapore, although there was as yet no evidence that the virus had spread in the community.

From Wednesday (Jan 29), travellers who have passports issued in Hubei and those who have been to Hubei recently will not be allowed to enter or transit through Singapore.

The authorities said on Tuesday that there are around 2,000 individuals in Singapore who recently travelled to Hubei. From among them, those who are deemed to be at higher risk will be put into quarantine.

According to the co-chairman of the task force, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong: “It is clear that there is heightened risk from Hubei travellers.”

At present, 75 people are under quarantine, all of whom were in close contact with the first four individuals confirmed to have the virus in Singapore.

Quarantine, which falls under the Infectious Diseases Act, carries strict penalties when disobeyed. A fine of $10,000 and a six-month jail sentence can be meted out for first time offenders, with more stringent penalties for those who repeat the offence. -/TISG

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