Singapore's battle against coronavirus begins; Schools ask parents for holiday travel details

While Singapore PM Lee said coronavirus does not appear to be as deadly as SARS, the schools are asking parents and staff to provide travel details during Chinese New Year

After confirming the first case of a coronavirus on Thursday, January 23, Singapore schools are asking parents and staff to provide travel details during the Chinese New Year holidays to measure the battle against coronavirus which killed 26 people in China. Parents of school children have started receiving e-mails from school authorities. They were asked to state where their children will be travelling for lunar New Year holidays.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said during an annual Chinese New Year speech on Friday that the city-state is well prepared to tackle the Wuhan flu virus while adding that it did not appear to be as deadly as the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

Singapore's first case of coronavirus

As per the reports on Thursday the Republic has confirmed its first case of coronavirus that has led to the quarantine of the Chinese city of Wuhan. The Ministry of Health mentioned in a media briefing on Thursday evening that a 66-year old Chinese national was confirmed as the first person targeted by the coronavirus in Singapore.

It should be mentioned that as per the reports the Chinese national is a Wuhan resident, who arrived in the Republic with his family on January 20, from Guangzhou via China Southern flight CZ351. Currently, he is in isolation at Singapore General Hospital and is in stable condition.

Combating coronavirus

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Students leave for classes after their recess at a secondary school in Singapore. Reuters (Representational Image)

Singapore's Ministry of Education told Reuters on Friday that "in this phase of enhanced preparedness, our schools, including Ministry of Education Kindergartens and Institutes of Higher Learning will take measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our students and staff."

In addition, the ministry also stated that the schools in the city-state have instituted travel declarations for all students and staff, as many people have already planned to travel over the long weekend for the New Year.

The ministry also mentioned that as per their records there are no student trips planned currently to Hubei province, which is the epicentre of the virus outbreak and none of them have planned to visit China in February. The ministry has decided to advise educational institutes to postpone trips in March and later, if necessary.

PM Lee on coronavirus battle

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Singapore's PM Lee speaks at an event Reuters

The Prime Minister of Singapore, which is also a global travel hub said, "We are well prepared because we have been gearing up for such a situation ever since we dealt with SARS in 2003." SARS killed 33 Singapore people then. He said, "MOH has now activated plans to counter the spread of the virus, which so far does not appear to be as deadly as SARS was."

Related topics : Coronavirus