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Singapore raises Coronavirus outbreak alert to 'Orange' as more cases surface

ANI | Updated: Feb 07, 2020 16:59 IST

Singapore, Feb 7 (ANI): Singapore on Friday raised the risk assessment level on the novel coronavirus outbreak from Yellow to Orange as three more cases, with no confirmed travel history to China or links to the past cases, surfaced.
With this, the total number of cases in Singapore rises to 33, making it the country with the second-highest number of cases of coronavirus after China.
This is the second time that Singapore has activated Code Orange. The first was for Swine flu (H1N1) back in 2009, as per a report by the Straits Times.
"Today the Ministry of Health has confirmed three additional cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection in Singapore. Contact tracing is underway; as of now, we have not uncovered links to previous cases or travel history to China," a statement by the ministry read.
"As there are now a few local cases without any links to previous cases or travel history to China, we have stepped up our risk assessment from DORSCON Yellow to DORSCON Orange," it added.
Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON), Orange means the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact.
The three recent cases of coronavirus reported the country include: A 53-year-old man who was in Malaysia on three separate days in January; a 42-year-old woman, a teacher at Victoria Junior College; and a 39-year-old woman who was in Malaysia from January 22 to January 29.
The ministry has introduced several additional precautionary measures to minimise the risk of further transmission of the virus in the community. Large scale events may continue as planned, but with these additional precautions.
Organisers of the event are asked to carry out temperature screening and look out for respiratory symptoms such as cough or running nose and deny entry to unwell individuals.
"They should remind participants not to attend if the participants have recent travel history to mainland China, and if practical, require travel declaration. They should ensure that event venues are ventilated and are adequately equipped with facilities for handwashing. They should increase the frequency of cleaning commonly used areas, and maintain a registration list of participants if possible," the statement read.
"Individuals who are unwell, on Leave of Absence, or have recent travel history to mainland China, should not attend," it added.
Employers are urged to require staff to conduct regular temperature taking, at least twice a day. Anyone with a fever should see a doctor immediately. Staff should also be checked for cough or runny nose.
Companies should step up their business continuity plans, which includes asking employees to telecommute or segregating them into teams.
Other precautionary measures include: schools cancelling all inter-school events and external activities till the end of the March holidays; companies implementing business contingency plans; limiting visits to pre-schools and eldercare services; and temperature screening in hospitals, the Straits Times reported.
The virus originated in China in December, last year, and has since then killed 636 people in that country alone, while cases have been registered in several countries across the world, including India. (ANI)