Novel Coronavirus Infection (MERS-COV)

The Middle East Respiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel coronavirus which causes acute respiratory illness in infected patients.

23 Jul 2018

Health Advisory (January 2018)

            MOH has been closely monitoring the global situation of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) since the disease emerged in 2012. To date, there has been no reported case of MERS-CoV in Singapore but the possibility of an imported case here cannot be ruled out given today’s globalised travel patterns. The risk of outbreak in our community remains low as there has been no evidence of sustained community spread and human-to-human transmission of the virus had occurred mainly in healthcare settings.

2           The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the application of any travel or trade restriction to areas affected by MERS-CoV. To reduce the risk of exposure to MERS-CoV, we advise Singaporeans and other residents travelling to affected areas to maintain their vigilance and adopt the following health precautions when overseas:

·         Observe good personal hygiene at all times;

·         Practise frequent hand washing (e.g. before handling food or eating, after going to toilet, or when hands are soiled);

·         You may consider wearing a surgical mask in crowded places and avoid close contact with persons suffering from acute respiratory infections (e.g. someone who is coughing);

·         Avoid contact with camels and other live farm or wild animals, including not visiting camel farms. If contact has been made, thoroughly wash hands with soap.

·         Adopt good food safety and hygiene practices and avoid consuming unpasteurised milk and undercooked meats.

·         Avoid visiting healthcare institutions in the Middle East, unless it is necessary to do so.

3           On their return from a MERS-CoV affected area, Singaporeans and other residents should monitor their health closely for two weeks. Singaporeans and other residents need not self-quarantine themselves upon their return if they have no symptoms of illness. However, they should wear a surgical mask and seek medical attention promptly if they become unwell with fever and cough and if they had recent travel history (within two weeks) to any areas reporting human cases of MERS-CoV. They should inform the doctor of the areas that they had travelled to. Truthful declaration of travel history is important. They may also be isolated for observation and further investigations, which may take up to 48 hours.

4           All our hospitals and doctors remain vigilant and stand ready to screen and isolate any suspect MERS-CoV cases. MOH will provide updates should there be any further measures implemented according to our public health risk assessments. Singaporeans and other residents should refer to this MOH webpage on MERS-CoV for the latest health advisory.


The Middle EastRespiratory Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) is a novel coronavirus which causes acute respiratory illness in infected patients. The virus was first reported by the WHO on 22 September 2012, and thus far all cases worldwide remained associated with the Arabian Peninsula. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which are known to cause illness in humans and animals. Human coronaviruses usually cause mild respiratory illnesses like the common cold, with the exception of the MERS-CoV and the SARS coronavirus which can cause severe illness.

Other Health Advisories

Health advisory for Umrah and Haj pilgrims (September 2015)

Travel Health Advisory for Outbound Passengers (May 2014) [JPG, 98KB]

Travel Advisory For Inbound Passengers (May 2014) [JPG, 97KB]

Press releases

Cessation of MERS-CoV Measures For South Korea (6 August 2015)

Additional Precautionary Measures Against MERS-CoV Situation in South Korea (9 June 2015)

MOH Update on the MERS Situation in South Korea (6 June 2015)

Updates on Measures Against MERS-CoV (3 June 2015)

Additional Measure for Early Detection of MERS-CoV (15 May 2014)

Enhanced precautionary measure against MERS-CoV (5 May 2014)

Maintain vigilance against MERS-CoV (16 April 2014)

Strengthening Preparedness for Emerging Infectious Diseases (10 June 2013)

Other Links

Pandemic Preparedness and DORSCON

7 Things You Need To Know About MERS-CoV

MERS-CoV Health Advisory