Photo of Zika carrying Aedes mosquito from Yale University

Merely three days after Singapore announced its first victim last Saturday (Aug 27), the Zika virus outbreak has now gone viral in Singapore with 82 infected as of today (Aug 30). According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA), 22 of the 26 new victims added today live or work in the vicinity of Sims Drive, Aljunied Crescent, Kallang Way and Paya Lebar Way.

The infectious virus originated from Brazil and is carried only by Aedes mosquitoes, which is a very common breed of mosquito in Singapore. It is unknown how the virus was brought into Singapore but the virus outbreak has now proven to be highly contagious, coming close to an epidemic. The authorities are stepping up on fogging and other control measures to eradicate mosquito breeding.

Currently, Brazil, United States and Singapore are the three main countries which report a high number of Zika virus outbreak. Interestingly, Malaysia is still not infected yet. Foreign countries like Australia, Taiwan and South Korea have issued travel warnings to their citizens of the Zika virus in Singapore. Malaysia just announced that they will deny Singaporeans with a temperature of 37 degrees and above from entering the country including the 6 entry points and customs. Tourism in Singapore will be badly hit delivering a double whammy to Singapore’s economy which is now in a recession state. At the same time, Singaporeans travelling overseas will also likely be stopped at arrival gates overseas and be randomly sent for health screening.

The Ministry of Health was earlier heavily criticised by a doctor for not treating the first Zika virus outbreak seriously which happened three months ago in May 2016. MoH was also guilty for covering up the actual date of detection of the Zika virus. The Ministry announced the recovery of 22 Zika-hit victims on Aug 28th, a day barely after it announced Singapore’s “first victim” on Aug 29th. Since recovery and detection process would definitely take more than a few weeks, it is hence a tacit admission on the MoH part that the news was covered up. Health Minister Gan Kim Yong has been silent throughout this difficult period where many Singaporeans are demanding accountability for the government cover up.