World / Asia-Pacific

62 suspected MERS cases reported in Singapore, all negative

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-07-13 15:53

SINGAPORE -- A total of 62 suspected Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) cases have been investigated in Singapore since January to July this year, and all were negative for the virus, local media reported, citing Health Minister Gan Kim Yong in Parliament on Monday.

Gan said that the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been closely monitoring the MERS situation since it emerged in 2012.

Singapore has initiated temperature screening at air checkpoints since May last year for flights from the Middle East and also extended the same check to South Korea flights in June, he said, but the transmission of the virus still poses health threats to locals.

"As MERS-CoV has a long incubation period of up to 14 days, infected travellers may not have any fever when they pass through temperature screening and therefore they may not be detected at entry. Hence, our doctors and hospitals have been reminded to remain vigilant to the threat of MERS-CoV among travellers from the affected areas," Gan said.

In case of emergency, Singapore has already worked out plans to respond. This includes isolation rooms for confirmed cases and protective equipment for personnel who participated in treating the patients. Gan also stressed the important role the public plays in national preparedness.

"MOH and the Inter-Ministerial Committee will continue to monitor and assess the MERS-CoV situation. Our priority remains to prevent, detect and contain any imported case into Singapore so that its impact on the community would be minimized," he added.

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