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S’pore tightens flu control

SINGAPORE, 4 May 2009: Singapore today stepped up its drive to curb the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) virus by issuing the Home Quarantine Order (HQO) to contacts and suspected contacts of the virus.

The order under the Infectious Diseases Act can be issued to any person who is a known or suspected close contact of a probable or confirmed case of the virus, as well as persons who arrived in Singapore within seven days after having departed from Mexico, according to the home affairs ministry.

In a statement, it said travellers entering Singapore with a travel history to Mexico over the past seven days would be quarantined for seven days when they entered the city-state from when they were last in Mexico.

Travellers who were unable to be quarantined at their own residential homes or were without a residential home in Singapore, would be quarantined in alternative housing such as government chalets at the Aloha Chalets located at Loyang here, it added.

It said immigration officers would ask passengers for their travel history and issue HQO to travellers who had been to Mexico in the past seven days.

Persons under home quarantine who developed symptoms would be referred to the Communicable Disease Centre for a thorough assessment.

Any person guilty of breaking the HQO should be liable to a maximum fine of S$10,000, or imprisonment of six months, or both, the ministry said.

The Singapore authorities have also widened their surveillance on travellers arriving from Malaysia on buses and trains by deploying thermal scanners at its land checkpoints in Woodlands and Tuas, beginning yesterday.

The health ministry is also requesting all Singaporeans and travellers who stayed at the Metropark Hotel Wanchai in Hong Kong on 30 April and who have since returned to Singapore to contact the ministry to enable it to advise them on monitoring their own health in light of the confirmed case in Hong Kong.

As of yesterday, there were no human cases of Influenza A (H1N1) reported in Singapore, except for two additional cases for investigations, the ministry said.

Of the 27 cases investigated in Singapore thus far, 23 cases have tested negative for Influenza A, three cases tested positive for the usual circulating seasonal strains of Influenza A, and one is pending laboratory investigations, it added. — Bernama

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