SINGAPORE: Two more people have died of dengue, with the number of weekly cases in Singapore continuing to remain “high”, according to the National Environment Agency (NEA).
“The total number of dengue cases in 2020 has exceeded 6,000 – more than double that over the same period in 2019,” NEA said in a news release on Monday (Apr 27).
“The number of weekly dengue cases remains high, hovering around 300 to 400 cases per week, and continues to be a public health concern.”
Earlier this month, NEA reported that five people had died of dengue since the start of the year. On Monday, it said two more people had died between January and March this year, bringing the total number of dengue fatalities so far to seven.
“The cases were between 60 and 80 years of age. All seven cases resided or worked within dengue clusters,” the authority said.
NEA had previously called for stepped-up community action against dengue, even during the circuit breaker period, which has now been extended until Jun 1.
It warned with two-thirds of the year still to go, the number of dengue cases in 2020 is projected to surpass 2019's figure, unless "immediate measures" are taken.
“Given the current situation, we must maintain vigilance and sustain our vector control efforts, especially as we enter the warmer months ahead.”
Vector control efforts, it said in its news release, are “classified as essential services during the circuit breaker period". As such, the agency is working with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) to ensure that pest control operators can continue with their critical vector control works.
NEA also urged owners of premises, especially those for construction and renovation sites which have a propensity for water pooling that allows for larger mosquito breeding habitats, to apply for “time-limited exemptions”.
This will allow workers to return to their premises during the circuit breaker period to perform essential mosquito prevention measures like ensuring proper housekeeping, and that drains are free from chokage and stagnant water.
NEA said it will be embarking on a stepped-up inspection regime of various construction sites, prioritising hotspots which are located in dengue clusters or have previous record of mosquito breeding, an approach that will be taken for the entire duration of the circuit breaker.
“As more people are working from home during this circuit breaker period, homeowners and occupants are also reminded to pay more attention to any mosquito breeding or adult mosquitoes present in their homes, and to take the necessary steps to prevent or remove them,” it added.
Any owner or occupier whose premises create conditions favourable for the propagation of vectors may be punished, NEA said.
First-time offenders may face a fine of up to S$5,000, or imprisonment of up to three months, or both. For repeat offenders, they may face a fine of up to S$10,000, or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
For those issued orders under the Control of Vectors and Pesticides Act, failure to comply with the order may lead to fine of up to S$20,000, or a jail term of up to three months, or both, if they are first-time offenders. For repeat offenders, they face a fine of up to S$50,000, or six months’ jail, or both.