Skip to main content

Advertisement

Advertisement

Wuhan virus: Multi-ministry taskforce set up; first imported case ‘inevitable’, says Gan Kim Yong

SINGAPORE — As the spread of the coronavirus outbreak originating from China’s central city of Wuhan continues unabated, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has set up a multi-ministry taskforce to tackle the scourge.

Border screeners monitor a thermal scanner set up at Changi Airport Terminal 3 to screen passengers coming in on a flight from Hangzhou, China on Jan 22, 2020. Changi Airport has set up more than 35 scanners across all four terminals to screen passengers coming in from over 430 flights from China each week.

Border screeners monitor a thermal scanner set up at Changi Airport Terminal 3 to screen passengers coming in on a flight from Hangzhou, China on Jan 22, 2020. Changi Airport has set up more than 35 scanners across all four terminals to screen passengers coming in from over 430 flights from China each week.

Follow us on Instagram and Tiktok, and join our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

SINGAPORE — As the spread of the coronavirus outbreak originating from China’s central city of Wuhan continues unabated, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has set up a multi-ministry taskforce to tackle the scourge.

The taskforce is jointly led by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and National Development Minister Lawrence Wong. The transport, manpower and education ministries are also in it.

The taskforce was set up given the current situation with the Wuhan virus and the high volume of traffic moving in and out of Singapore, Mr Gan said at a media briefing on Wednesday (Jan 22).

“It’s inevitable that we will see an imported case sooner or later and we must be prepared so that we are able to mount a rapid and effective response when that happens,” he said.

Asked if the severity of the situation is similar to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars) outbreak in 2003, when a similar taskforce was set up, Mr Gan said that features of the coronavirus are still being studied and that it is better to take precautions to protect Singaporeans.

“As we tackle this issue ahead of us, our healthcare workers play a very important role in dealing with patients and infections so I would urge Singaporeans to rally together and support them as they go about their duties,” he added.

Mr Wong said that processes and inter-governmental mechanisms are in place to deal with the outbreak.

“We have contingency plans all drawn up and ready, but there is the matter of coordinating all the agencies to work together to mount a united, effective response, and also to ensure we have a coordinated response with the public, so that’s the role of the taskforce,” he said.

The health advisory that was distributed to passengers coming in on a flight from Hangzhou, China on Jan 22, 2020.

Since Jan 2, 10 suspected cases of the Wuhan virus have been reported in Singapore. Seven cases have been cleared so far and three are still under investigation.

The three latest cases involve a 78-year-old female Singapore resident and two Chinese nationals, aged three and four. All had travelled to mainland China.

The virus started in Wuhan, China, which currently has about 270 cases. It has spread to at least 13 provinces and municipalities in mainland China and led to 17 deaths.

It also has spread worldwide to Thailand, Japan, Macau, South Korea, Taiwan and the United States.

MOH has advised the public to avoid non-essential travel to Wuhan and to exercise caution when travelling to the rest of China.

All inbound travellers on flights arriving from China will have their temperature screened at the Changi Airport.

Those with pneumonia and who travelled to China in the past 14 days will be isolated in hospitals to prevent transmission of the virus.

People with acute respiratory infection and who have visited a hospital in China in the past few weeks will also be isolated.

Related topics

Wuhan coronavirus MOH Changi Airport pneumonia travel

Read more of the latest in

Advertisement

Popular

Advertisement

Stay in the know. Anytime. Anywhere.

Subscribe to get daily news updates, insights and must reads delivered straight to your inbox.

By clicking subscribe, I agree for my personal data to be used to send me TODAY newsletters, promotional offers and for research and analysis.