SINGAPORE: Temperature screening for travellers arriving at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints began at noon on Friday (Jan 24), in response to cases of the novel coronavirus pneumonia that emerged in Wuhan, China and which has since spread to other countries.
The screening is also being implemented in anticipation of increase in travel volume leading up to the Chinese New Year holidays, according to an Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) news release on Friday morning.
At Singapore's sea checkpoints, temperature screening also started at noon, Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) said in response to CNA's queries.
Singapore confirmed its first case of the Wuhan virus on Thursday evening - a male Wuhan resident, 66, who arrived in Singapore with his family on Jan 20. He is currently in isolation at the Singapore General Hospital and is in stable condition.
Two more people were confirmed to have the virus on Friday afternoon, including the 37-year-old son of the first confirmed case.
Singapore authorities had announced on Thursday that border screening would be expanded to all land and sea checkpoints, while a travel advisory has been expanded for Singaporeans to avoid travelling to Hubei province, where Wuhan city is located.
READ: Patients' travel history, dedicated isolation areas - GPs take measures in wake of Wuhan virus
ICA and MPA on Friday said the temperature screening will be conducted by "healthcare assistants", and suspect cases will be referred to hospitals for further assessment.
The screening will be implemented "progressively" for all modes of land transport as follows:
- By bus: Travellers will be screened at the alighting bus concourse or bus hall before immigration counters. Bus drivers will be screened at the security check area.
- By train: Travellers will be screened at the alighting platform before entering the train hall for immigration clearance.
- By car: Travellers are required to wind down their car windows for temperature screening at the security check area before immigration counters.
- By motorcycle: Travellers are required to remove their helmets for temperature screening at the security check area after immigration counters.
- By lorry: Travellers will be screened at the cargo platforms or immigration counters.
MPA said inbound travellers and ship crew will be screened at all sea checkpoints, including ferry and cruise terminals, PSA terminals and Jurong Port.
READ: Wuhan virus patient's hotel room 'thoroughly disinfected', workers who cleaned room quarantined: Shangri-La Group
China's National Health Commission confirmed 830 cases of patients have been infected as of Thursday, while the death toll from the virus has risen to 25.
Elsewhere, the virus has infected at least one person in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam and the US.
READ: Singaporeans should be ‘calm but watchful’ after first Wuhan virus case, says PM Lee in Chinese New Year message
HOLIDAY TRAFFIC EXPECTED TO BE HEAVY: ICA
Traffic is expected to be heavy between Saturday and Tuesday during the Chinese New Year holidays.
"Coupled with the implementation of temperature screening for travellers, delays are expected and travellers are advised to check traffic conditions before embarking on their journey," said ICA.
"We seek travellers’ understanding and cooperation to work with our officers on site."
Health advisories have been put up at the land and sea checkpoints to advise travellers on the precautions they are to take, especially when traveling to or arriving from China.
"Singapore residents who need to travel to the affected areas are advised to regularly check MOH’s website for updates.
"Travellers to China are also advised to stay vigilant, monitor developments and heed the advice of the local Chinese authorities while in China," said ICA.
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