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Singapore must come together to respond to Wuhan virus: DPM Heng

Singapore must come together to respond to Wuhan virus: DPM Heng

A health officer screens arriving passengers from China with thermal scanners at Changi Airport. (Photo: AFP)

SINGAPORE: Singapore must band together to respond to the Wuhan virus situation, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Saturday (Jan 25).

Mr Heng was speaking to reporters after a visit to Changi Airport early on Saturday morning, giving out gift bags to taxi drivers as well as other workers as a show of appreciation on the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday.

The authorities were monitoring the Wuhan virus situation here very closely to see how it was developing to ensure a quick response to any changes on the ground, said Mr Heng.  

He added that the inter-ministry task force in charge of the situation - chaired by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong and Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong - was evolving the response plan as necessary.

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore: What can you do?

READ: Wuhan virus outbreak - At a glance

“I would like to assure Singaporeans that our agencies are doing their best to monitor the situation and respond as needed,” he said.

Individuals should also take care of their hygiene and ensure they are well-informed about the situation, and not spread false information during this time, he added.

This comes after the Ministry of Health confirmed an additional two confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection – also known as the Wuhan virus, after the city in China where it originated - in Singapore on Friday.

There are now three confirmed cases here.

They are a 66-year-old Wuhan resident and his son, aged 37 - who are both in isolation at the Singapore General Hospital - as well as 53-year-old woman, also from Wuhan, who is in isolation at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

As of Friday, there were 44 suspect cases here. Of these, 13 tested negative while test results were pending for the remaining 28.

In China, the number of cases is nearly at 1,300, with 41 dead as of Saturday. 

Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat and union leaders celebrating Chinese New Year with workers at Changi Airport Terminal 3 on Jan 25, 2020 (Photo: Zhaki Abdullah)

Accompanying Mr Heng were National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) secretary-general Ng Chee Meng and NTUC president Mary Liew, as well as Senior Minister of State for Transport Lam Pin Min, Senior Parliamentary Secretary Faishal Ibrahim and other union leaders.

Union leaders - together with 4G leaders including Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing as well as Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee – also visited more than 3,000 workers on duty at locations such as the PSA Pasir Panjang Terminal and Resorts World Singapore on Saturday morning.

Despite the heightened measures taken in light of the virus, morale remained high among the workers he spoke to, said Mr Heng, adding they were taking the necessary precautions even as they remained committed to their work.

Workers in various sectors – including healthcare, transport and other essential services – helped keep Singapore functioning smoothly and safely amid the festivities, he noted.

“It is important for us to show our appreciation to all of them for the hard work they put in,” he said.

Source: CNA/az(rw)

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