Travellers arriving at Changi Airport from Wuhan to undergo temperature screening after pneumonia outbreak

Thermal scanner set up at Changi Airport for incoming Wuhan flights. PHOTO: ST READER

SINGAPORE - Travellers arriving from Wuhan in China will undergo temperature screening at Changi Airport from Friday evening (Jan 3), in the light of a pneumonia outbreak in the Chinese region.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday evening it has told doctors to look out for suspected cases of people who returned recently from the area.

As a precaution, patients with fever and acute respiratory illness or pneumonia, who had travelled to Wuhan at least 14 days before the onset of their symptoms, will be isolated to prevent transmission, it added.

AFP had reported on Tuesday that China was investigating an outbreak of atypical pneumonia that is suspected of being linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), the flu-like virus that killed 774 worldwide - including 33 in Singapore - during a 2003 outbreak.

The South China Morning Post newspaper said at least 27 infections had been reported as of Tuesday, most of whom were stallholders at a seafood market. It said that Hong Kong was on alert, with border screenings being set up.

At the time, AFP also quoted Wuhan's health commission as saying that seven of the patients were in a critical condition, while the others were stable and two would be discharged soon.

According to the commission, initial lab tests found that there was no apparent human-to-human transmission and that no medical staff were infected.

As of Thursday, Chinese authorities could not confirm whether the pneumonia outbreak was linked to Sars. But MOH said it was aware of the cluster of severe pneumonia cases in the region and was monitoring the situation closely.

Suspected cases spotted by temperature screening at Changi Airport will be referred to hospitals for further assessment.

In addition, health advisory posters for all travellers will be put up at the airport, and a health advisory will be issued to all inbound travellers on flights from Wuhan.

As of 8.30pm on Thursday, MOH had not been notified of any suspected cases.

The ministry advised all travellers to Wuhan to monitor their health closely and seek medical attention promptly if they feel unwell, and to also inform their doctor of their travel history.

It added that travellers and members of the public should also adopt several precautions at all times, including avoiding contact with live animals and consumption of raw and undercooked meat, avoiding contact with people who are unwell or showing symptoms of illness, and practising frequent hand washing with soap.

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