Authorities increase health alert level to orange in Singapore as of Feb. 7 due to coronavirus concerns. Business disruptions likely.

Severity: Warning Alert

This alert began 07 Feb 2020 10:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Feb 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Increased health alert level
  • Location(s): Singapore (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite as of Feb. 7
  • Impact: Entry restrictions; likely increased immigration wait times, business disruptions; possible health screenings, quarantine

Summary
Authorities increased the DORSCON (Disease Outbreak Response System Condition) level from yellow to orange in Singapore Feb. 7 due to concerns over the ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Officials have attributed the decision to several confirmed cases that have had no known links to past cases or travel history to China, where the virus originated. The official measures or recommended precautions include:

  • Suspending inter-school and external activities through early March
  • Implementing temperature screening and closer controls of entry points into hospitals
  • Limiting visitors to preschools, as well as social and eldercare services


Officials have also encouraged workplaces to review business continuity plans and prepare measures, such as allowing employees to telecommute and segregating the workforce into teams. Workplaces may also require employees to conduct regular temperature-taking and report any symptoms, such as coughing. Authorities have also advised event organizers to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale gatherings.

An orange DORSCON level, the second-highest level, signifies that a disease is severe and spreads easily from person to person in Singapore. The orange level also signals some level of disruption, such as quarantines and hospital visitor restrictions. The highest level, red, signifies major disruptions, such as school closures and work-from-home orders.

Background and Analysis
Authorities have confirmed at least 33 cases in the country, including multiple Singapore residents and local transmission cases, as of Feb. 7. Authorities earlier banned foreign travelers who have visited mainland China in the previous 14 days, as well as all Chinese passport holders, from entering Singapore since Feb. 1. The intended duration of the travel restrictions has not been announced, and will likely depend on the course of the outbreak in China and other countries.

Advice
Prepare for business disruptions in Singapore. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with 2019-nCoV, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
Ministry of Health: https://www.moh.gov.sg/