Wuhan virus: Over 100,000 sign online petition calling for Singapore to ban travellers from China

The original petitioner wrote that “our health and our loved ones’ health are what should be prioritised the most”.
Shin Min Daily News

Amid worries over the spread of the Wuhan coronavirus, a large number of Singaporeans have banded together online to urge the government to ban all travellers arriving from China.

An online petition on change.org titled “Stop the Wuhan virus from entering Singapore” was started on Sunday (Jan 26) by a netizen identified as Anatasha Abdullah.

Calling for the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore (ICA) to “temporarily stop Chinese nationals and travellers from China from arriving on our shores”, the petition has since exceeded 105,000 signatures as of 6pm on Tuesday (Jan 28).

Anatasha wrote that Singapore’s small size makes it vulnerable to the spread of the virus, and that “we do not need to wait for severe cases before we take action”.

She added: “In crucial times like this, our health and our loved ones’ health are what should be prioritised the most”.

According to the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority, Chinese nationals with passports issued in Hubei province – in which Wuhan is located – are given special attention to ensure that they are well, when they arrive at Changi Airport.

But The Straits Times quoted National Development Minister Lawrence Wong during a Monday press conference on the Wuhan virus as saying that it is important that people do not become xenophobic and should remain calm and carry on with their lives.

Wong, who is also part of the multi-ministerial task force set up to contain the Wuhan virus outbreak in Singapore, wrote in a Facebook post that the government will “continue to monitor the rapidly evolving situation and implement additional measures as necessary“.

Meanwhile, The Star reported that Malaysia has immediately stopped issuing visas for Chinese citizens from Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province in a bid to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Read Also: Singapore is less prepared than Malaysia to deal with a pandemic, EIU report says

Five confirmed cases in Singapore

A Scoot relief flight carrying 18 Singaporean residents and 10 Scoot staff arrived from Hangzhou on Monday.
The Straits Times

Currently, Singapore has five confirmed coronavirus cases. The Straits Times (ST) reported that the most recent was a 56-year-old Chinese national from Wuhan who had arrived in Singapore with her family on Jan 18.

On Monday, ST reported that a Scoot relief flight carrying 18 Singaporean residents and 10 Scoot staff arrived from Hangzhou.

The passengers were declared not feverish after undergoing medical checks upon arrival at Changi Airport, and are being closely monitored by the Ministry of Health.

ST added that they were part of a group of 314 passengers who had boarded Scoot flight TR188 to Hangzhou last Friday (Jan 24). Two out of the 314 passengers were later confirmed as cases of coronavirus infection by Chinese authorities.

According to a real-time online dashboard by John Hopkins University, there are 4,474 confirmed cases of the Wuhan coronavirus as of 6pm on Tuesday (Jan 28).

The dashboard tracks and visualises reports about the outbreak using data from the USA’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organisation, China’s CDC and other sources with geographic-information-system mapping.

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