21 stop work orders issued, 10 contractors to be charged over mosquito breeding at construction sites: NEA

21 stop work orders issued, 10 contractors to be charged over mosquito breeding at construction sites: NEA

Singapore worker fumigates dogging mosquito dengue construction site
Workers wearing face masks fumigate a construction site to prevent the spread of dengue fever in Singapore on Apr 17, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Twenty-one stop work orders have been issued to construction sites for repeated mosquito breeding offences so far this year, as Singapore experiences a record-breaking dengue outbreak.

Ten contractors will also be charged for repeated mosquito breeding offences, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said in a media release on Wednesday (Sep 16).

A construction site at Serangoon North Avenue 1, located within a dengue cluster, was issued a stop work order on Wednesday. A previous stop work order had been issued to the site on Jul 15.  

"Profuse mosquito breeding habitats detected at the site included water ponding in the units of higher floors, with 50 or more larvae at each habitat," said NEA. 

Two stop work orders were also issued to a construction site located within a dengue cluster at Arnasalam Chetty Road and Kim Yam Road on Jul 20 and Sep 9.

Breeding habitats at this site included an air-conditioner compressor, canvas sheet, planter box and wooden frame, said the agency. 

Additionally, about 250 summonses were issued to construction sites from January to August this year.

NEA said that it had increased audits at construction sites since Singapore’s “circuit breaker”, prioritising sites within dengue cluster areas and near residential areas.

“All 1,213 construction sites have been inspected at least once since the start of the circuit breaker period,” said the agency.

READ: Construction firms rely on on-site workers, pest control companies to prevent mosquito breeding during circuit breaker

It added that fewer construction sites have been found to have mosquito breeding, with August seeing a 55 per cent reduction in larval breeding of the dengue-causing Aedes mosquito compared to July.

However, cases of multiple mosquito breeding habitats and habitats with profuse or repeated breeding continue to be detected at some construction sites.

“These egregious cases of mosquito breeding show that some construction site management are still not carrying out the necessary basic vector control checks, despite the current serious dengue situation, and the extensive communications and outreach on dengue prevention over the past few months,” said NEA.

The agency said it would continue regular inspection of construction sites. 

WEEKLY DENGUE CASES DECLINING, BUT REMAIN HIGH

There were 726 dengue cases last week, as new infections fell for the fifth week in a row.

NEA said that Singapore was still in the traditional peak dengue season and that weekly cases could remain high beyond October if mosquito prevention measures were not sustained.

Singapore is in the midst of a record-breaking dengue outbreak. A historic record in weekly new cases was surpassed in June, when 895 people were infected in just five-and-a-half days.

READ: Weekly number of dengue cases in Singapore surpasses 'historical high'

The annual tally of dengue cases also surpassed a 2013 record in early August.

On Wednesday, NEA said that 29,206 dengue cases have been reported so far this year.

The agency added that it has closed about 89 per cent of the 2,404 dengue clusters notified since the start of 2020.

However, it said the total number of dengue clusters remains high, with large clusters at these locations:

- Aljunied Road, Geylang Road and Geylang East Avenue 1 and 2

- Arnasalam Chetty Road and Kim Yam Road

- Bukit Panjang Ring Road

- Arthur Road

NEA said it was working with government agencies and town councils on sustained environmental management efforts to combat these clusters.

Source: CNA/dv(hs)

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