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NEA steps up checks on worksites as dengue season kicks in

Mosquito breeding is on the rise as Singapore enters the hotter months of June to October, the traditional peak season for dengue. Thus, NEA is stepping up checks on construction sites.

SINGAPORE: Mosquito breeding is on the rise as Singapore enters the hotter months of June to October, the traditional peak season for dengue.

As such, the National Environment Agency (NEA) is stepping up checks on construction sites.

NEA also warns that tougher penalties will be meted out and, where necessary, longer Stop Work Orders will be enforced should worksites be located within an active dengue cluster.

In the first four months of this year, NEA checked about 7,700 construction sites -- 80 per cent more compared to the same period last year.

Last year, there were affected construction sites in 43 clusters, with some 500 workers infected with dengue.

So far this year, there are 13 such clusters with more than 200 workers affected.

As the temperature rises in the coming months, NEA has urged construction companies to step up efforts to eliminate mosquito breeding grounds.

Second Minister for Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu said: "It is an important sector particularly when there is a prolonged breeding -- then you will find that it can be a focal point for transmission within the construction site and also outside."

One worksite in Compassvale area was issued Stop Work Orders twice this year. In February, work was stopped at the site for 11 days.

NEA said a Stop Work Order period usually lasts for six days.

Last month, work was stopped for about a week.

Now, the site makes it a point to check for stagnant water daily.

Andrew Khng, director of Tiong Seng Contractors, said: "(Stop Work Orders) cost a lot of anxiety for the whole industry and especially my worksite -- especially since this kind of worksite is big and we are also trying to find the small little insect called the mosquito -- so it is very difficult, but I think basically, we actually eradicate it by so-called zonal actions."

To fight dengue, NEA will be distributing educational materials to construction companies.  

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