As the dengue outbreak in Singapore continues to rise at a worrying rate, three more people have lost their lives due to dengue fever. This latest figure brings the total number of dengue deaths in the country this year to 19.
The age range of those who have died were 49 to 92 years old. Out of the total deaths, 17 of them were working or residing in a dengue cluster. In 2019, a total of 20 people died due to dengue.
This is the sixth consecutive week of dengue infections reaching more than 1,000 cases. A total of 1,736 cases were recorded last week, an increase of 65 cases from the week earlier.
As of now, there are 413 active dengue clusters in the country, with majority of them concentrated in the eastern part of Singapore.
Despite efforts by the National Environment Agency (NEA) to curb the spread of the mosquito-borne disease, the number of active clusters continue to soar.
Out of the 413 active clusters, 141 are classified as high risk as there are 10 or more people infected within 150m of each other in a two week period. Currently, there are 19 huge clusters with 100 people or more infected.
Since January this year, 18,673 individuals have been infected, a figure exceeded only in 2013, when 22,170 people were diagnosed with dengue fever in the entire year.
According to the Ministry of Health (MOH), more than 3,100 people, or 17 percent, have been admitted in public hospitals this year due to dengue. If that’s not bad enough, about 1 percent of them were so seriously ill that they had to be moved to intensive care.
Out of the identified clusters, two of the biggest ones are in the Aljunied-Geylang Guillemard area (147 breeding sites found) and the Bukit Panjang-Woodlands area (51 breeding sites found). Both these clusters recorded 260 cases each.
The single block with the highest number of infected cases is Block 608 in Senja Road with 33 cases.
The third super cluster is in the Mountbatten Road area, with 73 breeding sites detected and 234 infections recorded.
The NEA revealed that it had carried out more than 454,000 inspections in Singapore in the first six months and identified nearly 11,700 mosquito breeding areas.
It added that in May and June this year, it found 50 percent more breeding in homes and double the number in condominium grounds, construction sites, common areas and other places such as schools.
It is possible that the increase could be due to less maintenance conducted during the two month-long circuit breaker period from 7 April. If that’s not all, the COVID-19 outbreak at migrant worker dormitories led also to a drop in the number of workers available to do the job.
For those who are caught breeding mosquitoes, the penalty has been increased from last Wednesday. Instead of S$200 for the first three infringements, the amount has now been raised to S$300 for household found to have breeding site after they have been served notice that they are in a dengue cluster, or if more than one breeding spot is detected.
For the first half of 2020, NEA has taken action against 1,020 residential property owners for more than 6,000 breeding sites found. The Agency has also acted against the owners of more than 2,000 premises for mosquito breeding.
As for construction site caught breeding mosquitoes, the fine has also increased from S$2,000 to S$3,000, whereas town councils are fined up to S$5,000 for breeding spots find in common areas.