Indonesia advises travellers going to Singapore to take precautions in view of Zika virus outbreak

Passengers from a ferry from Singapore walk past a poster warning of the Zika virus at the International Port of Batam Centre on Sept 1, 2016.
Passengers from a ferry from Singapore walk past a poster warning of the Zika virus at the International Port of Batam Centre on Sept 1, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS/ANTARA FOTO

JAKARTA - Indonesia's Health Ministry on Thursday (Sept 1) advised travellers who must go to Singapore to take precautions in view of cases of the Zika virus detected in the Republic.

In a notice posted on its website, the ministry "recommended" pregnant women not to visit areas known to have mosquitoes infected with the Zika virus, and to take precautions if they do so.

Women who are trying to get pregnant are advised to put off their plans for eight weeks after their return, the statement also said.

Indonesian citizens were advised to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing clothes that cover their arms and legs, carrying mosquito repellent, and sleeping in rooms with mosquito nets or gauze over the windows.

"In addition, it is recommended that they immediately see a doctor if they fall sick," it said.

Those who return to Indonesia are advised to undergo a health check-up within 14 days and to immediately consult a doctor if they detect symptoms such as fever, skin rashes, joint or muscle pains, headaches, and red eyes.

So far, the ministry has confirmed only one case of the mosquito-borne virus in Indonesia.

It was detected in Jambi, Sumatra based on specimens taken during a dengue fever outbreak between December 2014 and April 2015. The case, involving a 27-year-old man, was reported in February this year.

But Indonesia has a history of Zika virus infections dating back to 1981, when an Australian was diagnosed with the virus after travelling to Indonesia.

On Thursday, Indonesia's Foreign Ministry said an Indonesian woman had been infected with the Zika virus in Singapore.