Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Singapore (February 14, 2020)
Event: COVID-19 and Singapore’s Disease Outbreak Response System Condition
A novel (new) coronavirus known as COVID-19 is causing an outbreak of respiratory illness that began in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. On January 30, 2020 the World Health Organization determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
The Government of Singapore raised its Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) from yellow to orange on February 7, 2020. The Singaporean government last raised to orange in 2009 during the H1N1 swine flu outbreak, and the recent move signals that the COVID-19 virus is severe and spreads easily from person to person, but that there is no widespread transmission in Singapore and the virus is being contained with moderate disruptions to daily life. As of 13 February 2020, a total of 58 people in Singapore have been infected by COVID-19, a significant number of which are persons with no recent travel or connections to China. This suggests evidence of community spread within the city-state.
For more information on Singapore’s DORSCON system and an explanation of its different levels please review this Ministry of Health webpage.
Please see previous messages to U.S. citizens at U.S. Embassy Singapore’s Alerts and Messages website.
Actions to Take:
- The situation is changing rapidly throughout the region, and you are recommended to follow official and reliable sources of information such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Singapore Ministry of Health, and the World Health Organization.
- Monitor Singapore local media for updates on further precautionary measures that may affect airports and other ports of entry, schools and other public facilities.
The Singapore Ministry of Health, U.S. CDC, and the World Health Organization have all published similar recommendations on what you can do to reduce your risk of infection. These include:
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Practice safe food handling and avoid animal markets.
- Keep your workspace and living spaces clean.
- U.S. Embassy Singapore
- State Department – Consular Affairs
888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
- Singapore Country Information can be found here.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive health and security updates: https://step.state.gov/step/
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