Zika outbreak

NEA widens anti-mozzie ops around biggest Zika cluster

The food centre at Block 117, Aljunied Avenue 2 yesterday. Business in the Sims Drive and Aljunied Crescent area has suffered since the Zika outbreak.
The food centre at Block 117, Aljunied Avenue 2 yesterday. Business in the Sims Drive and Aljunied Crescent area has suffered since the Zika outbreak.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Anti-mosquito operations are being extended around Singapore's biggest Zika cluster.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said yesterday it is taking these measures in Circuit Road, Geylang East Central and Geylang East Avenue 1.

These areas are located on the periphery of the Aljunied Crescent, Sims Drive, Paya Lebar Way and Kallang Way cluster, which accounts for more than 200 of the current 258 Zika cases islandwide. The NEA had been conducting vector control operations in these areas, and will continue to do so.

It said that as of Sunday, 63 breeding habitats had been detected and destroyed. Thirty-seven of these were in homes, while the other 26 were in common areas and other premises.

The NEA is also continuing with vector control operations and outreach efforts in Bedok North Avenue, another cluster, together with mosquito control measures. As of Sunday, 52 breeding habitats had been detected and destroyed, with 42 of them in homes and 10 in common areas and other premises.

The same efforts took place in Joo Seng Road, where no breeding habitats have been detected so far.

Meanwhile, in the Sims Drive and Aljunied Crescent cluster where it all began, shops said business has suffered. An owner of a mobile- phone shop at Block 47, Sims Place, who wanted to be known only as Miss Kristina, 23, said the area has been a "ghost town" since the news of the virus broke two weeks ago.

Barber Ahmad Ali, 56, said he has also seen fewer customers. "People avoid this place now. The market is also very empty. But what to do? I still have to run my business, life has to go on," he said.

For drinks stall owner Tan See Foo, 62, this is "one of the worst periods" he has been through since opening the stall at the market and food centre at Block 49, Sims Place in 1976.

"Business has fallen by about 30 per cent. Every night, fewer people come here to drink. Now is the school holiday period, but there is no one here," he said. "The mosquitos have really sabotaged us. Right now, my business is all right, but if this goes on for a month or two longer, it will get tough."

Fabian Koh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 06, 2016, with the headline 'NEA widens anti-mozzie ops around biggest Zika cluster'. Print Edition | Subscribe