As Singapore is now seeing a few local cases without any links to previous cases or travel history to China, the Government has stepped up risk assessment from DORSCON Yellow to DORSCON Orange.
The Government is prepared for a scenario involving community spread. Existing measures will be strengthened, and additional measures implemented, to minimise the risk of further community transmission and reduce the risk of imported cases.
What is DORSCON Orange?
DORSCON, or the ‘Disease Outbreak Response System Condition’, is a colour-coded framework that shows the current disease situation.
Under DORSCON Orange, the virus is severe and spreads easily from person to person, However, there is no widespread transmission in Singapore and the virus is being contained.
What are the additional measures to be introduced?
Under DORSCON Orange, additional precautionary measures will be introduced to minimise the risk of further transmission of the virus, and raise the protection of vulnerable groups.
Cancel or defer large-scale events, or put in place necessary precautions if proceeding
Event organisers are advised to cancel or defer non-essential large-scale events.
For those who choose to continue, necessary precautions should be put in place. Organisers should carry out temperature screening, look out for individuals exhibiting respiratory symptoms such as cough and runny nose, and deny unwell individuals entry to the event.
Organisers should remind participants who have recently travelled to mainland China not to attend events. Unwell individuals, those on a Leave of Absence, or those with recent travel history to mainland China should not attend events.
If practical, travel declaration should be required from participants, and a registration list of participants should be maintained.
Organisers should also ensure event venues are well-ventilated, and commonly used areas are cleaned more frequently. There should also be adequate facilities for hand-washing.
Daily health checks at workplaces, and enhanced business continuity capability plans
All employers should ensure employees take their temperatures at least twice daily, and check that they do not have respiratory symptoms, such as cough or runny nose.
Unwell employees, or those with a fever, should leave the office immediately to see a doctor.
To prepare for widespread community transmission, all workplaces should step up business continuity plans, which can include allowing employees to telecommute or dividing the workforce into segregated teams.
Additional measures will be implemented to raise the protection of vulnerable groups:
- Healthcare institutions: the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be implementing temperature screening and closer controls of entry points into hospitals. Patients with pneumonia will be cared separately from other patients to reduce risk of transmission, and MOH will work with healthcare institutions to enhance infection control.
- Schools: Schools will suspend inter-school and external activities till the end of the March school holidays. These include the national school games, learning journeys and camps. Schools will continue with earlier implemented measures, such as classroom-based assemblies, school-based co-curricular activities in smaller groups and staggered recesses.
- Pre-schools and social/eldercare services: Restrictions on visitors to pre-school, social and eldercare premises will be imposed.
What existing measures are in place?
There are existing defensive measures in place to reduce the risk of imported cases and community transmission, as well as manage clusters of limited human-to-human transmission in Singapore.
These include border controls to reduce the risk of imported cases, active case finding for similar cases, enhanced personal hygiene and environment cleaning, as well as heightened measures for vulnerable groups. You can read about it here and here.