11 new cases of Zika confirmed Sunday; 10 have no known links to existing clusters

Channel NewsAsia 11 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: The Ministry of Health (MOH) on Sunday (Sep 11) confirmed 11 new cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection in Singapore. Of these, one case is linked to the Elite Terrace cluster and the other ten cases have no known links to any existing cluster.

There are currently 329 Zika cases. Eight pregnant women have been infected with the virus, said MOH, adding that their doctors are following up closely with them to provide support and counselling.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) is continuing with vector control operations and outreach efforts in the cluster areas at Aljunied Crescent/ Sims Drive/ Paya Lebar Way/ Kallang Way/ Circuit Road/ Geylang East Central/ Geylang East Avenue 1; Bedok North Avenue 2/ Bedok North Avenue 3/ Bedok North Street 3; Joo Seng Road; Bishan Street 12; Elite Terrace; Ubi Crescent and Jalan Raya/Circuit Road.

As of Saturday, a total of 202 breeding habitats have been found and destroyed in the cluster areas. Of which 121 are from homes, and 81 from common areas/other premises.

From Monday, NEA and MOH will be providing daily updates via NEA’s website.

Members of the public may refer to the website for updated information on the number of reported Zika cases and ongoing clusters.

- CNA/jq

14 new Zika cases confirmed Saturday; potential new cluster in Circuit Road area
Channel NewsAsia 10 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE: 14 new cases of locally transmitted Zika were confirmed by authorities on Saturday (Sep 10), bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Singapore to 318.

In a joint statement, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and National Environment Agency (NEA) said of the 14 new cases, 7 are linked to the Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive/Kallang Way/Paya Lebar Way cluster. One case is linked to the cluster in Bishan St 12, while another case is linked to the Bedok North Ave 3 cluster.

MOH and NEA said in the joint statement that there is a potential new cluster involving a previously reported case, as well as a new case discovered on Saturday. Both Zika patients live in the Jalan Raya/Circuit Road area in MacPherson, authorities said, adding that the other four cases have no known links to any existing cluster.

NEA added that it is continuing with vector control operations and outreach efforts in the cluster areas at Aljunied Crescent/Sims Drive/Paya Lebar Way/Kallang Way/Circuit Road/Geylang East Central/Geylang East Avenue 1; Bedok North Avenue 2/Bedok North Avenue 3/Bedok North Street 3; Joo Seng Road; Bishan Street 12; Elite Terrace and Ubi Crescent.

Vector control operations and outreach efforts will also be carried out at Jalan Raya/Circuit Road.

As at Sep 9, a total of 194 breeding habitats have been found and destroyed in the cluster areas, of which 117 are from homes, and 77 from common areas and other premises.

The agency said that, as a continuation from last weekend, outreach activities supporting the Mozzie Wipeout Movement Against Zika will be conducted all over Singapore this weekend “to urge all residents to join in the collective effort in the fight against Zika by doing the 5-step Mozzie Wipeout, removing stagnant water and not littering".

NEA added that the public can obtain updated information on Zika and details on current clusters from its website.

- CNA/lc/dl

Zika awareness targeted at foreign domestic workers
TAN WEIZHEN Today Online 11 Sep 16;

SINGAPORE — Efforts are underway to spread awareness of Zika, and how to prevent mosquito breeding, among foreign domestic workers (FDWs), who are at the frontline of the fight against the virus, with most breeding grounds found at home.

On Sunday afternoon (Sept 11), the Centre for Domestic Employees, which sets up a weekly mobile kiosk at areas where FDWs congregate, gave out pamphlets with information on Zika to FDWs at Toa Payoh Town Park.

“Our foreign domestic workers play a significant role in our households because they’re the ones who are actually the guardians of the homes, while their employers go to work,” said CDE executive director (strategy) Shamsul Kamar.

“So that’s why we feel it’s important for us to reach out to them to create this awareness, as well as teach them the five Mozzie Wipeout strategies, so they can support their employers.”

Such outreach efforts to spread the message at popular congregation areas will be stepped up, he said.

“If we’re able to help our FDWs better understand the content, they’ll be even more effective in ensuring that the households they’re working for are kept safe, and reduce mosquito breeding. Most importantly, their employers have peace of mind,” he added.

Earlier this month, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli noted that the majority of breeding sites continue to be found in homes, with the rest in common areas.

FDWs interviewed on Sunday were mostly aware of the Zika outbreak, as their employers had informed them, they said. They have also been tasked with stepping up their cleaning and checking the plants at home.

Ms Josie Sup, 29, whose employer’s residence is a landed property, said: “I even have to clean the drain outside the home now. I clean it every week because my employer told me if not, it’s risky.”

Ms Asrien Srikustinah, 38, said: “My employer would tell me to throw away any buckets of water left over from mopping. I also have to change the water in vases every morning.”

The CDE also gave an update on Sunday on its Mobile CDE initiative, which is intended to make advice relating to foreign domestic employment issues more accessible to FDWs.

It has had three sessions so far, with an outreach to 100 FDWs. It will now be deployed at congregation areas weekly, up from bi-monthly since its launch in late July.

If necessary, the Mobile CDE will reach out to FDWs during the weekdays, for instance at employment agencies where there are workers in transit or who have just arrived in Singapore, said Mr Kamar.