Singapore Ministry of Health Update on Influenza A (H1N1-2009) (7 May)

Singapore Ministry of Health Update on Influenza A (H1N1-2009) (7 May)

* As of 30 April 2009, WHO refers to the new influenza virus as Influenza A (H1N1-2009)

Transition to DORSCON Yellow

1. As announced yesterday 6 May 2009, measures to transit to DORSCON Yellow by Monday, 11 May 2009, if the situation remains stable, are progressively being implemented.

2. While the new strain of Influenza A (H1N1 2009) seems milder than originally feared, MOH would like to remind all on the need to remain vigilant. The situation is still   dynamic, and we would need to constantly review and adjust our responses, to deal with changing threat.

3. Singaporeans are reminded to maintain high standards of personal hygiene. This means covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough, and wash your hand frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with respiratory secretions (e.g., after sneezing and coughing). We also need the cooperation of everyone to be socially responsible. This means staying home and avoid crowded places (including trains, buses, offices) when you are unwell and put on a surgical mask and see a doctor if you have flu symptoms.
Situational Update of Cases

4. According to the World Health Organisation, 23 countries have officially reported 1893  cases of influenza A (H1N1-2009) infection. In Singapore, there are as yet no human cases of Influenza A (H1N1-2009). However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cautioned nations not to let our guard down as there may be a second more severe wave of infection.

5. As of 7 May 2009, there have been 942 confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1-2009) reported in Mexico (with 29 deaths), 642 in the United States (with 2 deaths), 165 in Canada, 73 in Spain, 28 in United Kingdom, 9 in Germany, 5 in New Zealand, 4 in Israel, 1 in Austria, 1 in the Netherlands, 1 in Denmark, 1 in Sweden, 1 in Portugal, 2 in El Salvador, 1 in Switzerland, 5 in France, 1 in Ireland, 5 in Italy, 1 in Costa Rica, 1 in Columbia, 1 in Guatemala, 1 in Hong Kong and 2 in the Republic of Korea.

6. In Singapore, we had 3 additional cases for investigations today (as of 1700hrs). Of the 32 cases investigated thus far, 25 cases have tested negative for Influenza A, 4 tested positive for the usual circulating seasonal flu strains, and 3 are pending laboratory investigations.

Home Quarantine Order (HQO)

7. As at 0230 hrs on 7 May, a total of 13 HQOs have been issued. Travellers entering Singapore with a travel history to Mexico will be quarantined for seven days.  The period of the 7-day HQO will start from the last date the traveller was in Mexico. To date, 6 were issued to foreign residents and 7 were issued to Singaporeans. 2 foreign residents and 2 Singaporeans have ended their HQOs at 2359h last night.

8. While under HQO, the person must stay at home throughout the quarantine period, monitor their temperature twice daily and check for flu-like symptoms. They should minimise contact with other family members and practise good personal hygiene. Persons under home quarantine who develop symptoms will be referred to the CDC for a thorough assessment. A dedicated ambulance service (993) is in place to convey them to TTSH Emergency Department. The public is urged to call this number only if they have a travel history to affected areas.

9. Travellers who are returning from other areas with evidence of community transmission of Influenza A (H1N1-2009) (i.e., the US and Canada) should monitor their temperature daily and check themselves for symptoms of flu-like illness. They can continue with their normal routines if they are well. Those who develop symptoms of flu with fever (temperature > 38 deg C) within seven days after their return should put on a surgical mask and call 993 for an ambulance. They should also disclose their travel histories to their doctors

Advice from MOH

10. As we step down to Yellow alert status and community measures such as temperature screening are relaxed at workplaces, schools, buildings and events, tighter restrictions at healthcare institutions will remain for the time being. We seek the public’s understanding on the need for temperature screening of all visitors at healthcare institutions and restriction of hospital visitors to 2 per patient at any one time.

11. Members of the public are strongly advised to exercise caution over travel to affected areas. In the event that travel is unavoidable, the public is advised to take precautionary measures such as avoiding crowded areas and maintaining high standards of personal hygiene at all times. However, if you are unwell with fever and cough but have no travel history to affected areas, please see a doctor and stay at home.

12.  MOH is monitoring the situation closely and will update the public should there be any new developments. For more information on Influenza A (H1N1-2009), please access MOH’s website at www.moh.gov.sg, call our hotline at 1800-333 9999, or visit www.flu.gov.sg.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

7 May 2009

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