Channel NewsAsia

No MERS cases in Singapore yet

The Health Ministry said no cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus have been detected in Singapore thus far.

SINGAPORE: The Health Ministry (MOH) said no cases of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been detected in Singapore thus far.

But the ministry said on April 16 the possibility of an imported case in Singapore cannot be ruled out, given globalised travel patterns today.

The United States reported on Saturday its first case of the deadly virus which originated in the Middle East.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention said it discovered MERS in a traveller from the region.

In the Health Ministry's latest health advisory for Umrah and Haj pilgrims in Singapore issued on Friday, the ministry said pilgrims should be vaccinated against influenza and meningitis.

Persons aged 65 years and above or with chronic medical conditions should also get vaccinated against pneumococcal infections.

Pilgrims should also avoid close contact with persons suffering from acute respiratory infections.

The Health Ministry said pilgrims should also adopt good food safety and hygiene practices, and avoid consuming items such as unpasteurised milk, undercooked meats or unsafe water.

It added that pilgrims should also avoid contact with camels and other live farm or wild animals.

Responding to media queries, the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore (MUIS) said pilgrims are advised on the precautionary measures by travel agents prior to their departure.

MUIS also said it is working closely with the Culture, Community and Youth Ministry, MOH, the Association of Muslim Travel Agents, and the Saudi Embassy to ensure the safety of the pilgrims.

According to MOH, as of 15 April 2014, a total of 33 suspect cases investigated in Singapore for MERS-CoV had all tested negative.

They had reported a travel history to the Middle East for business or social purposes, as well as for Umrah. 

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