Emerging infectious diseases from abroad, such as the H7N9 avian influenza and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, are threats that Singapore still faces, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Saturday.
Recounting the 2003 Sars epidemic and the 2009 influenza pandemic, Mr Gan noted that the public can play a part during outbreaks by getting vaccinated.
Members of the public should also be socially responsible by visiting the doctor and not go to work if they are unwell, he added.
He was speaking to more than 130 participants at an inaugural conference to pay tribute to the late Malayan-born Dr Wu Lien-Teh, who had helped to stop a potentially catastrophic pneumonic plague in China in 1910. Dr Wu is commonly regarded as China's founding father of modern medicine.
The one-day conference was organised by the Nanyang Technological University. Among the audience was Ambassador to China, Mr Duan Jielong, as well as local and Chinese medical experts who were invited to share their experiences in handling national epidemics.
A week-long exhibition on Dr Wu's work, which ends on Apr 12, is also being held at the Chui Huay Lim Club in the Newton area.