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     FrontPage Edition: Tue 27 April 2004

Weather: Meteorological Service Singapore    High & Low Tides

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SARS situation in China

The Ministry of Health in the People's Republic of China (PRC) has reported a total of two confirmed cases of SARS and six suspect cases as of 25 April 2004.

All the cases can be traced back to a virology laboratory in Beijing. More than 400 contacts linked to the two confirmed cases are also in quarantine or under close medical supervision. WHO stated yesterday that the situation does not present a significant health threat at this stage.

Our assessment is that the situation in PRC appears to be well contained. MOH is monitoring the situation in PRC closely.

Precautionary Measures in Singapore

1) At Borders:

Temperature screening at the aerobridges for all flights arriving from China and Hong Kong has been implemented.

Health Alert Notices are given to these passengers (both foreigners and returning locals) to heighten their awareness on the precautionary measures to take, and the need to observe good personal hygiene practices during their stay/return here.

Useful contact numbers such as the SARS Hotline (1800-333 9999) and the SARS Ambulance (993) for referral to TTSH are also made available on the card.

2) At Healthcare Institutions:

Our hospitals are also on guard against any possible outbreak of SARS , especially from imported cases from overseas. Doctors and health care institutions have also been alerted to look out for patients with SARS-like symptoms who have a travel history to China, especially Beijing and Anhui, within the last two weeks.

All public hospitals continue to maintain their screening of patients arriving at their Emergency Departments for fever. All patients with fever are managed separately and all potentially infectious patients are isolated. Health care staff in high risk areas such as in screening areas, Emergency Departments, Intensive Care Units and isolation rooms continue to wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

Public Advisory

The MOH would like to advise all persons who have travelled to China in the last two weeks and experience fever, cough and/or breathlessness, to call 993 (24-hour service) for an ambulance to take them to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) for further assessment. They are also advised to avoid using other means of transport.

Continued Vigilance at Tan Tock Seng Hospital

TTSH is the best-equipped hospital for the medical assessment of patients suspected to have SARS. TTSH staff have extensive experience in such medical assessment. At TTSH, they can also be assured that their safety is well taken care of as it continues to maintain a high level of vigilance as the SARS Screening Centre.

The public can also be assured that the staff at TTSH's Emergency Department is well prepared and fully equipped with the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). At the Emergency Department, patients are triaged and patients with fevers/unexplained fevers/respiratory illnesses are treated separately. Those with fevers and other respiratory illnesses are isolated until their clinical diagnosis is clear. This is to rule out any possibility of cross infections with suspected SARS cases.

Source: Ministry of Health Press Release 26 Apr 2004

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Public Holidays LABOUR DAY is the next public holiday. It falls on 1 May 2004.