SINGAPORE, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) — Singapore's Health Minister Gan Kim Yong on Tuesday highlighted preparation, response and long-term management as the country's three-pronged strategy to tackle the spread of Zika virus.
The minister made the remarks during his ministerial statement at the Parliament.
Gan said Zika is a mosquito-borne disease, and most of the people who have been infected recovered and are no longer symptomatic. The government will not isolate or hospitalize Zika patients, he said.
The health minister said more than 500 samples a month were tested for Zika from January this year, and close to 4,000 samples were tested between February and August, before the first confirmed case was reported on Aug. 27.
Gan said the ministry has worked with National Environment Agency's Environmental Health Institute to put in place a surveillance program for Zika two years ago.
Gan said the sudden surge of Zika infected cases from Aug. 27 to Aug. 28 was due to the active back-tracing process. He said the ministry only confirmed the first locally transmitted Zika case on Aug. 27, and then released information the same evening.
To manage Zika in the long-term, Gan noted that efforts are now focusing on vector control. The ministry will monitor babies born to pregnant women with Zika over time.
The minister reiterated that subsidized Zika testing is extended to all Singaporeans beyond the affected clusters.
On a suggestion to set up a Zika national registry, Gan said the ministry will study it carefully.
Singapore has confirmed 333 cases of locally transmitted Zika virus infection, including eight pregnant women, as of Monday.
These infection involved seven clusters, with slightly more than 80 percent of the total cases from the main cluster in Aljunied, Sims Drive and Paya Lebar Way.