Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday called on Singaporeans to remain calm, practise good hygiene and avoid spreading false rumours as the Wuhan virus situation continues to develop.
In a Facebook post, PM Lee outlined the latest measures taken by Singapore to guard against the spread of the novel coronavirus, which emerged from the Chinese city of Wuhan last month.
He said local transmission of the virus has not happened, but warned that it could, and that Singaporeans have to be prepared for it.
To date, all seven confirmed cases in Singapore are Chinese nationals from Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan.
The authorities have suspended entry into or transit through Singapore for people who have recently travelled to Hubei and those with Chinese passports issued in Hubei.
Singapore residents and those holding long-term visit passes who are returning here will be quarantined if they have recently visited Hubei, said PM Lee.
He added: "We will continue to monitor the situation closely and do more if necessary... All of us can do our part to limit transmission of germs by practising good hygiene. Wash your hands regularly, and seek medical advice early and wear a mask if you feel unwell."
In general, there is no need to wear a mask if one is not ill.
PM Lee said he has received many messages expressing concerns about the virus. "I fully understand your feelings. We are all worried for ourselves and our loved ones, here and overseas.
"The situation is developing rapidly. We have activated our contingency plans, and all our agencies are working together," he said.
Singapore's hospitals and healthcare workers are well prepared, PM Lee said, adding that Singapore has been preparing for something like this ever since the outbreak of Sars (severe acute respiratory syndrome) here in 2003.
Scientists and medical professionals across the world are working round the clock to understand the virus and develop a vaccine, he said. "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."
PM Lee also urged the public not to listen to or spread rumours and untrue reports. "Alas, there is a lot of that circulating around, on WhatsApp and social media. Sharing news responsibly is an important way we can protect ourselves."
In a separate Facebook post, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said the additional measures taken will reduce the community spread in Singapore, and "better protect our people".
Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.
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