Screenshot from Channel 8 website

After being silent on the Zika epidemic for more than a week, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong claimed that the Singapore government has already set up a Zika-monitoring system as early as 2 years ago. In a video interview with state media Channel News Asia, the Minister claimed that he expected that it was only a matter of time the Zika virus to reach Singapore, and hence the government has set up a monitoring system with 200 private clinics.

According to Gan Kim Yong, 1,600 specimens were obtained from general practitioners over the 2 years but none of the result tested positive for Zika. General practitioners were then on “alert” status monitoring the possibility of the Zika virus and that is how the first Zika infection was detected. Minister Gan Kim Yong then claimed again that there was no cover up, because the first victim may have displayed the symptoms as early as July 31st, it is only on Aug 27th that she was verified to have contracted Zika. However, there was no explanation on the 36 new cases announced a day after.

The current Zika infection toll hits 275 as of Sep 6th and Bishan Street 12 was identified as the latest cluster. A total of 17 new cases was declared on the same day, but the source locations of 6 infected were covered up by the Health Ministry. Although it is hard to take extra precautions when the clusters are not revealed to public, the Singapore government weigh that cover ups are essential to protect the reputation of the ruling party, especially in light of the coming President election.