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Singapore to work closely with China to battle coronavirus threat: DPM Heng

Singapore to work closely with China to battle coronavirus threat: DPM Heng

People are seen wearing protective face masks at Orchard Road, Singapore on Jan 28. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will continue to work closely with China and the international community to fight the novel coronavirus, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said on Friday (Feb 7).

“This includes preventing its further spread and developing better medical testing,” Mr Heng wrote in a Facebook post, following a phone call with China’s Vice-Premier Han Zheng.

“In times like this, with the longstanding special relationship between Singapore and China, it is also important for us to work together.”

One of the examples he cited is the work Singapore researchers have done to develop novel coronavirus testing kits for use in laboratories.

“We can contribute to China’s containment efforts by providing test kits to conduct 10,000 tests at the first instance, together with three polymerase chain reaction (PCR) machines,” he said. 

“We will be providing 10,000 tests in the next couple of weeks.”

He added that Singapore’s scientific experts are also “exchanging views with their counterparts in China”.

In addition to this, the Government will also be contributing S$1 million in seed funding to the Singapore Red Cross, which launched a public appeal to raise funds for humanitarian assistance to affected communities in China.

Mr Heng also conveyed his condolences and sympathies to the families and communities affected by the virus in China in his post.

“Infectious diseases are transboundary in nature,” Mr Heng said. “Countries can only overcome this challenge by stepping up measures within each country, and by collaborating with one another.”

READ: Singapore confirms 2 more coronavirus cases, including 1 who attended Grand Hyatt meeting

Singapore has reported 30 cases of the novel coronavirus, which has affected more than 30,000 people and killed more than 600 in China. Outside mainland China, Hong Kong and the Philippines have recorded one death each. 

The first local transmission cluster was also confirmed earlier this week. Authorities said there is no evidence of community transmission in Singapore so far.

READ: 29th coronavirus case visited Seletar clinic before being sent to hospital

READ: 12 people from 5 families among confirmed coronavirus cases in Singapore

Last week, it was announced that all new visitors with recent travel history to mainland China will not be allowed to enter or transit in Singapore. Those with Chinese passports, excluding Singapore permanent residents and long-term pass holders, will also not be allowed to enter Singapore.

“Singapore will continue to do our part – enhancing our safeguards as the situation  evolves, and working with China and the international community to combat this outbreak," Mr Heng wrote.

“I am confident we can overcome this challenge together.”

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Source: CNA/ga


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