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Some Watten Estate residents unfazed by possible Zika transmission

SINGAPORE — Urging residents of Watten Estate, Hillcrest Arcadia, The Arcadia, Casa Perla and Watten Hill Condominium to monitor their health, the authorities are moving to step up operations in the area to contain any possible transmission from the Republic’s first Zika patient. The patient lives at Watten Estate, which is not an active dengue cluster.

Photo: Clifford Lee

Photo: Clifford Lee

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SINGAPORE — Urging residents of Watten Estate, Hillcrest Arcadia, The Arcadia, Casa Perla and Watten Hill Condominium to monitor their health, the authorities are moving to step up operations in the area to contain any possible transmission from the Republic’s first Zika patient. The patient lives at Watten Estate, which is not an active dengue cluster.

Even so, all premises, grounds and congregation areas will be inspected upon case notification, and there will be measures taken, such as ultra-low volume misting of premises and thermal fogging of outdoor areas to kill adult mosquitoes. Drains will also be flushed and oiled more frequently to prevent mosquito breeding.

The National Environment Agency has already started outreach efforts and distributed Zika information leaflets and insect repellents to residents living in the area. The agency is roping in officers who had been deployed to other areas for the intensified operations.

Some residents who live around Watten Estate told TODAY they are unfazed by the news, despite living in close proximity to the first known victim of the Zika virus in Singapore. “We are aware of it but it is not really going to affect our lives. It’s not a deadly disease,” a resident who wanted to be known only as Mr Yap said. “If it’s Ebola, I’d be scared, but for Zika, the symptoms aren’t deadly.”

Mr Loh Yat Chan, 68, a retiree, said there was no need to panic over this single case, although he was more worried for his two grandsons than himself. His family will take the precaution of applying mosquito repellent, he said. Another resident, Mr Albert Lee, 43, who works in the healthcare sector, said: “While we all know about the impact of Zika in South America, it’s no different from the precautions we take for dengue. There is no need to panic.”

Mr Guillaume Kavaruganda, 47, Rwanda’s High Commissioner to Singapore, who has been living near Watten Estate for the past 10 months, said he is “absolutely not afraid” of the virus and will not take extra precautions, while Ms Estella Seah, a 40-year-old homemaker, said: “If it’s a full-blown epidemic, people will probably be more careful, such as during the Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) epidemic.”

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