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01 Aug 2018

6th Aug 2015

            The Ministry of Health (MOH) notes that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in South Korea is under control. On 28 July 2015, South Korea declared the end of the outbreak when all close contacts were released from quarantine. Since 3 July when the last confirmed case was isolated, no new cases have been reported in South Korea.

2          In view of the stabilised situation in South Korea, with effect from 6 August 2015, MOH will no longer consider travellers from South Korea as being a risk of MERS-CoV infection.  MOH will cease temperature screening at air checkpoints for passengers arriving from the country. Health Advisories will also no longer be distributed to travelers arriving by air from South Korea. In addition, South Korea will no longer be a MERS-CoV affected area when it comes to a patient’s travel history.

3          We had previously commenced the temperature screening on 9 June for the early detection of MERS-CoV cases from South Korea.  Temperature screening and other border health measures will remain for passengers arriving from the Middle East.

4          To date, there is no case of MERS-CoV in Singapore but the possibility of an imported case here cannot be ruled out given today’s globalised travel patterns. However, even if there is an imported case, the risk of an outbreak in our community remains low as sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus has not been reported.

5          All our hospitals and doctors remain vigilant and stand ready to screen and isolate any suspect MERS-CoV cases. Patients with clinical signs/symptoms of pneumonia or severe respiratory infection with breathlessness, and travel history to areas affected by MERS-CoV in the two weeks before onset, will be evaluated to exclude MERS-CoV infection.

Health Advisory

6          The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend the application of any travel or trade restriction to areas affected by MERS-CoV. However, to reduce the risk of exposure to MERS-CoV, we advise Singaporeans 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, undercooked meats, raw fruits and vegetables (unless they have been peeled), or unsafe water.
  • Avoid visiting healthcare institutions in the Middle East, unless it is necessary to do so.

7          On their return from a MERS-CoV affected area, Singaporeans should monitor their health closely for two weeks. Singaporeans 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.

8          MOH will continue to closely monitor the global MERS-CoV situation. We will provide updates should there be any measures implemented according to our public health risk assessments. Singaporeans should refer to MOH’s webpage on MERS-CoV[1] for the latest health advisory.

MINISTRY OF HEALTH

6 AUGUST 2015

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV)






Category: Press Releases