SINGAPORE - All travellers at Woodlands and Tuas checkpoints will have to undergo temperature screening from Friday (Jan 24) at noon, in light of the Wuhan virus outbreak and the large number of travellers expected to cross the border over the festive weekend.
The Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA) said that all travellers passing through the two checkpoints will have their temperature taken by healthcare assistants, and suspected cases will be sent to hospitals for further tests.
"This is in response to the novel coronavirus pneumonia development in Wuhan and exported cases to other cities and countries, coupled with the anticipated increase in travel volume in the lead up to the Lunar New Year holiday period," said the ICA on Friday morning.
Latest reports said at least 25 people have died as a result of the virus outbreak in China, where more than 840 people have been infected.
On Thursday, Singapore confirmed its first case of the Wuhan virus. A 66-year-old man from Wuhan who had arrived on the island on Monday had tested positive for it. He is in stable condition now and is in isolation in hospital.
His 37-year-old son was also confirmed to have the virus, with a 53-year-old woman who had earlier tested positive in preliminary tests.
Both suspected and confirmed cases have also surfaced in Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Macau, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.
Speaking to reporters on Friday at Tuas Checkpoint, deputy commander ground operations at Tuas Superintendent Joe Tan Kok Kwan said that temperature sensors will check if anyone has a temperature higher than 38 deg C.
These travellers will be escorted to a holding area, where nurses will interview them about their travel history and if they have travelled to Wuhan or other affected areas recently, as well as whom they have been recently in contact with.
If the persons are found to be at risk, they will be sent to a second station for a doctor to conduct further medical tests to decide if they need to be sent to hospital. They will be sent to a quarantine area to wait for an ambulance.
The Ministry of Health will decide which hospital they are sent to, said Supt Tan.
The ICA said those travelling in buses between Singapore and Malaysia will be screened at the alighting bus concourse or bus hall before the immigration counters. Bus drivers will be screened at the security check area.
Train commuters will have their temperature taken at the alighting platform before going through immigration.
Before reaching the immigration counters, car travellers will have to wind down their windows to have their temperature taken, and motorcyclists will have to remove their helmets.
Travellers in lorries will be screened at the cargo platforms in the checkpoints or at the immigration counters.
He said that only the screening systems of the buses had been fully set up on Friday afternoon, adding that the screening systems for cars would be set up by the end of the day.
The ICA expects traffic to be heavy from Saturday to Tuesday and delays as it implements temperature screening measures at both checkpoints.
It added that it has put up health advisories at both checkpoints urging travellers to take precautionary measures when travelling to or from China.
"Given the evolving situation and ongoing investigations in China, Singapore residents who need to travel to the affected areas are advised to regularly check MOH's website (www.moh.gov.sg) for updates," said the ICA.
"Travellers to China are also advised to stay vigilant, monitor developments and heed the advice of the local Chinese authorities while in China," it added.