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Infectious Disease Act

19 Jul 2018

The Infectious Diseases Act (IDA), which was enacted by Parliament in 1976 and came into force on 1 Aug 1977, is the principal piece of legislation that deals with the prevention and control of infectious diseases in Singapore. This legislation is jointly administered by the Ministry of Health and the National Environment Agency (NEA).

For the control of infectious diseases in Singapore, the IDA provides for the notification of specified infectious diseases. It empowers the Director of Medical Services to order medical examination and treatment of any person who is or suspected to be a case, carrier or contact of an infectious disease, post-mortem examination of any person who has died while being or suspected of being a case, carrier or contact of an infectious disease, epidemiological surveys and investigations into outbreaks to be carried out. The Act also permits the Director of Medical Services to order the treatment of premises or vessels, closure of food establishments if the establishment is suspected to be the source of or responsible for the transmission of an infectious disease. The Director can prohibit meetings and public entertainment if such gatherings are likely to increase the spread of any infectious disease.

For the prevention of the introduction of infectious diseases into Singapore, the IDA allows the Minister to declare an area (whether in Singapore or elsewhere) to be an infected area if there is reason to believe that a dangerous infectious disease may be introduced into Singapore through or from that area. The Director-General Public Health is empowered to stipulate the necessary measures to be taken to prevent the introduction or importation of infectious diseases into Singapore through its ports of entry.

The ID Act requires every child in Singapore to be vaccinated against diphtheria and measles. It permits the Minister to order mandatory vaccination of at-risk persons during any disease outbreaks, when an outbreak is imminent or when it is necessary to secure public safety. Medical practitioners are required under the Act to make records and notify vaccinations carried out by them or carried out under their supervision, as prescribed by the Director.