Health Ministry spells out detailed plans on handling any Ebola case

A health advisory poster in Changi Airport. -- PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP 
A health advisory poster in Changi Airport. -- PHOTO: CHANGI AIRPORT GROUP 

SINGAPORE - Singapore has spelt out plans to deal with an Ebola case should one occur in Singapore.

This comes after the World Health Organisation said the outbreak of the haemorrhagic fever in West Africa is a public health emergency of international concern. It also recommended countries have measures in place to "direct, investigate and manage" Ebola cases.

Changi Airport will isolate passengers with signs of Ebola - such as sudden high fever, diarrhoea, vomiting, rash or bleeding - and transfer them to Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Suspect cases who are seriously ill will be transported in specially configured ambulances, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Friday.

All suspect cases will be managed in negative pressure isolation control rooms with strict infection control procedures.

Proceesses have also been put in place to send samples for Ebola virus testing at the National Public Health Laboratory's designated testing facilities, MOH added.

It will trace who patients were in contact with. It will quarantine and monitor close contacts for up to 21 days at the government quarantine facility at Pasir Ris.

It has also told hospitals and clinics to be alert for suspect cases and how to notify it. MOH said that nationals from Ebola-hit areas - Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria - will be issued health advisories when they enter Singapore's immigration checkpoints. The advisory notes that travellers should consult a doctor early and inform the doctor of their travel history if they fall ill with sudden fever, stomach pains, diarrhoea, vomitting, rash or bleeding within three weeks of being in affected areas in West Africa.

Similar posters will be put up at immigration checkpoints to caution inbound travellers.

Though the WHO has not recommended any ban on international travel or trade, Singaporeans are advised to postpone non-essential travel to West Africa, MOH said.

Before they travel, they should refer to MOH's latest Ebola advisory online at: http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/moh_web/home/pressRoom/Current_Issues/2014...