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Lifting of SARS Measures

Since the last probable SARS case in Singapore was isolated on 11 May 2003, there have been no new probable SARS cases here. The World Health Organisation also declared that the global SARS outbreak had been contained when it removed Taiwan from the list of SARS affected countries on 5th July 2003.

In view of the improved SARS situation globally and locally, the Government has reviewed its SARS precautionary measures. With effect from 26th July 2003, the following measures will be lifted:

The temperature-taking regimes in workplaces and buildings will be suspended. These include

- Schools, post-secondary educational institutions, childcare centres, student care centres and all pre-school centres, including kindergartens, playgroups and tuition centres. Students are still encouraged to check their temperatures before leaving for school, and schools can still conduct exercises from time to time to maintain vigilance.

- Food-centres and markets. All hawkers are encouraged to keep the thermometers, "I’m OK" badges and temperature record books to ensure that temperature-taking can resume smoothly if necessary. All hawkers are also encouraged to practice high standards of food and personal hygiene, as the National Environment Agency will continue to work with hawker centres and market associations to help them to attain the "Singapore’s OK" label.

- All construction worksites, shipyards, factories employing more than 25 workers and foreign worker dormitories.

- All premises currently under the COOL programme, including private student hostels and tourism establishments such as hotels. However, these establishments will continue to retain the appointment of a SARS Prevention Manager to maintain a high level of preparedness.

Temperature screening of visitors to government buildings will be suspended. Temperature screening of visitors to hospitals will be lifted with effect from 1 August. However, temperature monitoring of hospital staff and temperature screening of patients will continue.

Temperature screening of departing passengers at our airports, seaports and land checkpoints will be suspended. However, inbound travellers will still need to go through temperature screening.

The special requirements and restrictions on handling of bodies in non-Sars deaths due to pneumonia will be discontinued with effect from 28 July. These include precautionary measures such as the body having to be double-bagged and placed into a hermetically-sealed coffin and also the 24-hour cremation ruling.

Despite the suspension of these measures, all Singaporeans are urged to maintain vigilance to guard against any recurrence of SARS. If the SARS situation deteriorates, there may be a need to reactivate some of these measures. Singaporeans are strongly encouraged to continue taking their temperatures regularly and to practice good hygiene habits.

We will continue to monitor the situation and introduce step down precautionary measures gradually.

Source: Singapore Government Press Release 25 Jul 2003



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26 July 2003

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