Outbreak of pneumonia in China sends Changi airport into high alert, Taiwan follows

In the statement, the MOH directed medical practitioners to be watchful of travelers who exhibit symptoms of pneumonia and have visited Wuhan city in last 14 days

The outbreak of pneumonia in Wuhan City, in the Hubei Province of China, has prompted the Ministry of Health(MOH) Singapore to take precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the mystery illness in the island city-state. On Thursday, the MOH released an advisory that sought doctors and travellers to exercise vigilance.

In the statement, the MOH directed medical practitioners to be watchful of travellers who exhibit symptoms of pneumonia and have visited Wuhan city in last 14 days. As for travellers, the health ministry asked them to seek immediate medical attention if they feel unwell during their travel to Wuhan city.

Inbound travellers to be screened Changi airport

According to the statement, effective from the evening of 3 January 2020, all inbound travellers from Wuhan city will be temperature screened at Changi Airport. Any suspected case will be referred to a hospital for further treatment the statement said. Additionally, travellers flying in will be provided with special advisory, and health advisory posters will be displayed at the airport.

The MOH confirmed in the statement that it has not been notified of any suspected cases as of 2 January 2020. In addition to travellers, the statement also provided precautionary measures for the general public to follow in order to protect themselves from any infections.

Taiwan issues warning against the spread of fake news

While the Taiwan Centers for Disease Control (CDC), issued guidelines similar to that of Singapore's MOH, it also stressed on the spread of fake news. In a statement, the CDC urged the public to refrain from receiving information from unverified sources and urged the public to not share such information.

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Citing Law on the Maintenance of Social Order Article 63, the CDC warned the public of the legal consequences of spreading false rumours. According to the statement, there have been no reported cases of similar to Wuhan city in Taiwan.

In addition to Singapore and Taiwan, Hong Kong is also on high alert and has deployed thermal imaging systems at vital boundary checkpoints.

Pneumonia scare in Wuhan City triggers SARS scare

As of 31 December 2019, there have been 27 confirmed cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, according to a statement Wuhan Municipal Health and Health Committee. Of the 27 cases, seven were said to be in critical condition. While two patients were recovering and are expected to be released soon.

The statement claimed that all the patients have been isolated. However, the pathogen behind the respiratory illness is yet to be identified. Preliminary tests showed signs of viral pneumonia. It also said that a local seafood market in the city suspected to have a link to the cases it was being investigated, and cleanup was underway. The statement also said that it cannot confirm the reports doing the rounds online that the mystery illness was Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

(With agency inputs)