MERS will arrive in Singapore sooner or later: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong

MERS will arrive in Singapore sooner or later: Health Minister Gan Kim Yong

Asked about Thailand's first case of MERS, Mr Gan indicated there will be no temperature screening at airports for air passengers arriving from Thailand for now.

SINGAPORE: The Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) will arrive in Singapore sooner or later due to the country's global connectivity, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Friday (Jun 19).

His comment echoes that by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, that it is a "matter of time" before Singapore has its first MERS case, due to its inter-connectivity.

Thailand on Thursday confirmed its first case of MERS - a 75-year-old man from Oman. South Korea has also reported more than 160 cases in the country.

Asked whether temperature screening at airports will be extended to passengers from Thailand, Mr Gan said there is protocol to follow. Currently, screening is only for those coming from MERS-infected areas such as the Middle East and South Korea, he said.

The Health Minister said hospitals have been reminded repeatedly to be vigilant to the threat of MERS. Reminders have also been sent to the primary care sector, such as General Practitioners, he added.

"They will likely be the frontline, the first line of contact if patients are ill. So they are reminded to be updated on the latest development so that they are aware," said Mr Gan. "And we also continue to (conduct) exercises and practise in our hospitals so they are familiar with the procedures in handling MERS cases if it does happen in Singapore."

Mr Gan was speaking on the sidelines of a Chinese Development Assistance Council Annual General Meeting.

Source: CNA/ek