No suspected Mers cases since checks on temperature started

PHOTO: No suspected Mers cases since checks on temperature started

No suspected cases of the Middle East respiratory syndrome (Mers) have been detected since temperature checks on air passengers from affected countries in the region began on Sunday.

Some 28 flights had been screened as of 6pm yesterday, but Health Minister Gan Kim Yong cautioned that travellers to the region in particular should remain on their guard against the virus.

He added that local hospitals have also put in place precautionary measures.

"It's an ongoing effort, and hospitals have always been reminded to remain vigilant," he said. "We always share whatever information we get... with our hospitals and doctors, so that they are kept up to date on the latest developments."

He was speaking during a visit to a National Kidney Foundation dialysis centre in Ang Mo Kio, where he also said MediShield Life will strengthen the social safety net and help Singaporeans better cope with health-care bills.

His words echoed President Tony Tan Keng Yam's address to Parliament last Friday.

"MediShield has played an important role in helping Singaporeans cope with large medical bills," Mr Gan said. "MediShield Life will provide better coverage, as well as more effective coverage."

The universal insurance scheme will cover even those with pre-existing illnesses, and is set to kick in by late 2015.

Mr Hashim Abdul Rahim, who has been on dialysis for 21 years, is looking forward to MediShield Life. To date, he has claimed over $200,000 under MediShield for dialysis, and would have hit the lifetime claim limit of $300,000 in another decade.

It is likely that this limit will be completely abolished under MediShield Life. "Without this, it would have been a lot worse," said the 51-year-old. "Now at least I don't need to worry."

Mr Gan added that the Government is also looking at ways to "do more for our seniors", another key point in Dr Tan's earlier speech.

Mr Gan said: "We want to find ways to help them lead meaningful and fulfilling lives as they grow old." 

This article was first published on May 22, 2014. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.