Stop-work order for dengue-hit site

Construction company China Jingye Engineering Corporation has been told to stop work and clean up its Choa Chu Kang Avenue 1 Housing Board construction site after 35 of its workers contracted dengue.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it will take the company to court after an inspection of the site found four mosquito breeding areas.

It is the fourth time the site has been found to have breeding areas. Project manager Tan Chee Hock said the company was given its first stop-work order there last year.

It has since paid fines of more than $10,000 in total for three cases of mosquito breeding.

In the current case, workers were first diagnosed with dengue on June 23 and a stop-work order was issued two days later. The firm has about 900 staff in total.

Mr Tan said China Jingye will plead guilty and extended an apology to residents in the area - 22 of whom have also fallen sick.

"We need to work with NEA to make sure the lives of those living around the site are not affected," he said. "We have that responsibility." The NEA is intensifying its efforts as the number of dengue cases rises, with more than 9,300 infections so far this year.

Last week, 676 cases were diagnosed - 123 more than the previous week. Between Sunday and 3.30pm yesterday, another 668 were infected by the mosquito-borne viral disease.

Roughly one in five sufferers ends up in hospital.

The NEA said it will check the seven construction sites in Choa Chu Kang every week. It is the neighbourhood with the most new dengue cases in the last fortnight, although checks have found only one home where mosquitoes are breeding.

Residents told The Straits Times they are worried about the rise in dengue fever and are doing their best to keep their homes free of stagnant water. Cabby Wahad Bach k, 58, blamed construction sites. "Before those came up, we never had so many people with dengue."

Singapore's current "super cluster" is the Serangoon and Hougang area where 550 people have been infected. The NEA has been deploying 200 officers a day there to spray insecticides, and search for and destroy breeding sites. They have found 266 breeding spots there - 80 per cent of which were in homes.

This article was first published on July 05, 2014.
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