SINGAPORE: Twenty-six more cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection have been confirmed in Singapore, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a joint statement on Tuesday (Aug 30). This is on top of the 15 cases confirmed on Monday and the 41 cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Singapore to 82.
In their media release on Tuesday, the agencies gave more details of the new cases: 17 of them live or work in the Sims Drive/ Aljunied Crescent area and five live or work in Kallang Way and Paya Lebar Way, north of Sims Drive/Aljunied. The authorities are investigating the remaining four cases for their links to the affected area.
The agencies added that another 111 individuals were tested negative over the last 24 hours.
Earlier on Tuesday, MOH urged all pregnant women in Singapore with symptoms of Zika to be tested for the virus, regardless of whether they had been to Zika-affected areas.
5,000 OF 6,000 ALJUNIED/SIMS PREMISES CHECKED: NEA
NEA added that as of Monday, it has inspected about 5,000 premises out of an estimated 6,000 premises in the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster to check for mosquito breeding, and also conducted ground checks in the vicinity. Thirty-nine breeding habitats – comprising 23 in homes and 16 in common areas/other premises - have been detected and destroyed.
NEA also said it served notices on more than 400 inaccessible premises in the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster to require the owners to contact NEA to arrange for an inspection, failing which NEA will proceed with forced entry. NEA has also inspected the on-site workers' quarters at the construction site at Sims Drive, where a number of cases work. The stop-work order on the construction site at Sims Drive is still in force.
NEA officers and grassroots volunteers have completed the first round of outreach efforts in the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive cluster, to distribute Zika information leaflets, and will be continuing with outreach in the areas of concern to raise general awareness of Zika, reiterate need for source reduction to prevent mosquito breeding, and advise residents to apply repellent as precaution.
NEA said it would also begin vector control operations and outreach efforts in Kallang Way and Paya Lebar Way.
INSPECTING CONSTRUCTION SITES, DORMITORIES
In addition to inspecting homes and their common areas, NEA is also inspecting construction sites and engages dormitory operators. It said: "The latter plays an important role in helping to prevent and stem Zika transmission in their premises by ensuring a clean and hygienic environment. Some good practices include engaging dedicated pest control operator(s) for mosquito control, ensuring and sustaining proper housekeeping, and ensuring that all workers/residents apply insect repellent regularly."