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S’pore raises pig flu alert

SINGAPORE, 29 April 2009: Fifteen more people, mostly Singaporeans who have recently returned from the US, were referred to the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) and a hospital here yesterday for further checks for swine flu.

Singapore’s Health Ministry said three of the cases referred to the CDC, including the two referred on Monday, had all tested negative for Influenza A, the virus type associated with swine flu and circulating strains.

In a statement, the ministry said the government had also raised its alert level from green to yellow from today to better brace the city-state to handle situations where there might be isolated imported cases but no sustained local transmission.

The ministry said that as of yesterday there were no human cases of swine flu in Singapore although a total of 17 cases had been referred for further medical assessment.

It said that normally the preliminary test result would be available within a day but confirmation of the swine influenza strain would take up to seven days.

The ministry also said that since its SARS experience in 2003, it had ramped up isolation capacity in public hospitals and stocked up about 1.15 million treatment courses of Tamiflu and 50,000 treatment courses of Relenza.

The stockpiled antiviral drugs were enough to treat Singaporeans should the need arise, it said.

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has widened its precautionary measures to include the Budget Terminal in Changi Airport and the Seletar Airport where thermal scanners would be deployed by today.

The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) will also deploy thermal scanners at the arrival halls of Singapore’s International Passenger Terminal and Regional Ferry Terminal at Habourfront Centre and Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal today to screen all arriving passengers.

Thermometers would also be used at West Coast Pier, Marina South Pier, Changi Ferry Terminal and Changi Point Ferry Terminal to screen all arriving passengers, MPA said.

In addition, health alert notices containing information about swine flu would be handed out to arriving passengers, it added. — Bernama

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