On Tuesday (28 January), Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong took to his Facebook to reveal that the Government will continue to closely monitor the Wuhan virus situation in the country and “do more if necessary”.
His post came just a few hours after the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced the sixth and seventh confirmed Wuhan coronavirus cases in Singapore.
“I have received many messages from you expressing concerns about the Wuhan coronavirus. I fully understand your feelings. We are all worried for ourselves and our loved ones, here and overseas,” he wrote.
He noted that the situation is “developing rapidly” and Singapore has activated its “contingency plans”, and all the agencies working together.
He added that hospitals and healthcare workers in the county are well prepared. In fact, they have been prepared for something like this ever since the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003.
“Meanwhile, scientists and medical professionals across the world are working around the clock to understand the virus and develop a vaccine. Experts think the Wuhan virus may be less lethal than SARS, but more infectious. Patients who are infected may possibly be contagious before symptoms show. If true, this will make it harder to screen and detect new cases, and to stop the spread,” he wrote.
In his post, PM Lee repeated the earlier announced confirmed number of cases in Singapore, highlighting that we don’t have local transmission or community spread yet. However, he warned that Singapore must be prepared for it.
On Tuesday, MOH announced that the Republic will stop entry or transit of new visitors who have been to Hubei in the last 14 days, as well as those who have had their passport issued in Hubei.
PM Lee pointed out that Singapore will quarantine its residents and people who are holding long term passes who are coming back to the country, and have travelled recently to Hubei.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely and do more if necessary. Meanwhile, we should all remain calm. All of us can do our part to limit transmission of germs by practicing good hygiene,” he said.
He continued, “Was your hands regularly, and seek medical active early and wear a mask if you feel unwell. But in general, there is no need to wear a mask if you are not ill.”
PM Lee also reminded people of Singapore to not listen or spread rumours about anything related to the Wuhan virus.
“Also please do not listen to or spread rumours and untrue reports — alas there is a lot of that circulating around, on WhatsApp and social media. Sharing news responsibly is an important way we can protect ourselves,” he explained.
Earlier on 23 January, PM Lee said that the Wuhan coronavirus does not appear to be as lethal as SARS, and urged the public to remain calm.
“It looks like this virus is not as lethal as SARS, but you do not know. It can mutate. We have to be as prepared as we can,” he expressed.
He added that the Government was “doing what we need to do”, and urged the public to take necessary precautions and reminded them not to panic.
Besides PM Lee, the Singapore Democratic Party (SDP) also urged Singaporeans to stop themselves from manufacturing fake news and spread rumours regarding the deadly Wuhan coronavirus that’s happening in Singapore and other parts of the world.
“The SDP calls on Singaporeans to refrain from manufacturing fake news and spreading rumours about the Coronavirus that is transmitting in Singapore and around the world,” it said.
It added, “Alarming the public through such misinformation only harms our community and ourselves.
The Party explained that people should “double check the sources of such posts” and “verify that they are from reliable sources before passing on and sharing them”.
Separately, the Workers’ Party (WP) said in a statement on Tuesday evening that it gives its full support during this “trying period” to the multi-ministry taskforce set up by the government to consolidate efforts in containing the spread of the coronavirus outbreak in Singapore and overseas.
The WP said, “We have to stay united, and heed instructions given by the various ministries, especially that from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Manpower, and the Ministry of Education.”
“Most importantly, we urge everyone to remain calm, and not to give in to fear mongering by speculating or spreading rumours online,” it added.
If that’s not all, the Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP) Dr Tan Cheng Bock said on Wednesday that we need to work together regardless of political affiliations to deal with this national issue of the Wuhan virus in Singapore.
Besides that, he advised people to keep an eye out for news from MOH, adding that they should be discreet about news relating to the virus from outside sources.
Dr Tan said, “This is a national issue. We must work together regardless of political affiliations. All of us should join forces with MOH and other government agencies to combat this virus.”