Travellers arriving at Changi Airport from Wuhan to undergo screening

Timothy Goh

SINGAPORE (THE STRAITS TIMES/ANN) – Travellers arriving from Wuhan in China will undergo temperature screening at Changi Airport beginning yesterday, in light of a pneumonia outbreak in the Chinese region.

The Singapore Ministry of Health (MoH) said on Thursday it has told doctors to look out for suspected cases of people who returned recently from the area.

As a precaution, patients with fever and acute respiratory illness or pneumonia, who had travelled to Wuhan at least 14 days before the onset of their symptoms, will be isolated to prevent transmission, it added.

AFP had reported on Tuesday that China was investigating an outbreak of atypical pneumonia that is suspected of being linked to Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (Sars), the flu-like virus that killed 774 worldwide – including 33 in Singapore – during a 2003 outbreak.

The South China Morning Post newspaper said at least 27 infections had been reported as of Tuesday, most of whom were stallholders at a seafood market. It said that Hong Kong was on alert, with border screenings being set up.

At the time, AFP also quoted Wuhan’s health commission as saying that seven of the patients were in a critical condition, while the others were stable and two would be discharged soon. According to the commission, initial lab tests found that there was no apparent human-to-human transmission and that no medical staff were infected.

As of Thursday, Chinese authorities could not confirm whether the pneumonia outbreak was linked to Sars. But Singapore MoH said it was aware of the cluster of severe pneumonia cases in the region and was monitoring the situation closely.