No local cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (Mers) yet: Ministry of Health

Some 51 people have been checked for the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) coronavirus here and all have tested negative for the virus, the Ministry of Health revealed in Parliament today.

Parliamentary Secretary for Health Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said that all suspected and confirmed cases are isolated, and the ministry will conduct contact tracing when needed. Close contacts of confirmed cases will be quarantined, he added.

Other measures have also been put in place in case the virus hits Singapore. For instance, chalets in Pasir Ris have been put on standby since June 17 as a possible quarantine location.

So far, the World Health Organisation has reported a total of 80 cases of the Mers virus worldwide, with 44 deaths.

Cases have been reported in countries such as Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Tunisia and Italy.

Meanwhile, Haj and Umrah pilgrims who will be travelling to Saudi Arabia, where the virus has been active in, have been issued health advisories, said Associate Professor Faishal.

"All pilgrims are advised to avoid close contact with persons suffering from acute respiratory infections and to adtop good food safety and hygiene practices to reduce the risk of being infected."