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Singapore can contain Wuhan virus if everyone works together: Gan Kim Yong

Singapore can contain Wuhan virus if everyone works together: Gan Kim Yong

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong speaking to staff at Tan Tock Seng Hospital before taking part in lo hei with them. (Photo: Jalelah Abu Baker)

SINGAPORE: Singapore will be able to contain the Wuhan virus situation if everyone works together, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said after visiting staff at Tan Tock Seng Hospital on the first day of the Chinese New Year holiday (Jan 25). 

“What is important is that we must work together. With the Government, the people, everyone in Singapore working together, I'm confident that we will be able to contain the situation,” said Mr Gan, who also took part in lo hei, a festive tradition, on Saturday. 

As of Friday, there were three confirmed cases of Wuhan virus in Singapore, with another three across the Causeway in Johor Bahru. 

READ: Wuhan virus in Singapore - What we know about the confirmed cases

READ: Malaysia confirms first 3 cases of Wuhan virus

The Health Ministry will adjust preventive measures along the way, as it continues to monitor the situation, Mr Gan said.

Mr Gan’s message echoed Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat’s earlier in the day, as he urged the nation to band together in response to the Wuhan virus situation.

ADEQUATE PROTECTION FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS

In response to questions on whether healthcare workers are adequately protected, Mr Gan said the Ministry has been working with clinics, hospitals and healthcare management to ensure adequate protective gear.

“The healthcare workers are on the front line, and they're all an important component and many of our health workers including the private general practitioners are playing a very important role in the detection of cases. They are the first line of defence,” Mr Gan said.

Mr Gan urged Singaporeans to show support and appreciation to healthcare workers, some of whom are risking their own safety to protect others, especially during the festive season

READ: Wuhan virus death toll hits 41 as cases soar to nearly 1,300 in China

READ: Doctor dies from Wuhan virus at Hubei hospital

When asked if the Government is ramping up hospital facilities and patient holding areas in anticipation of more cases, Mr Gan said that while the situation is still evolving, it is important to always be prepared for the eventuality.

“Hospitals have come a long way since the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) period,” Mr Gan said adding that the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) is fully equipped to handle infectious diseases.

“We have also equipped all our public hospitals to be able to manage infectious disease patients, if they arrive at the hospital, and I think we are confident that we'll be able to manage these patients when they come along,” he said.

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

MORE: Our coverage on the Wuhan virus and its developments

Mr Gan urged people to practise good hygiene as they mingle with friends and relatives over the Chinese New Year festivities.

NCID executive director Leo Yee Sin also stressed that there is no need for people who are not showing symptoms to wear masks, as long as those who have symptoms are responsible and wear surgical masks.

“Most of the viruses spread through droplet transmissions … The best way to catch these droplets is a surgical mask,” she said.

Source: CNA/hs

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