Amid coronavirus outbreak, South Korea, Israel advise citizens against travelling to Singapore


Singapore: Amid concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, South Korea and Israel have told their citizens to defer travel to Singapore, where the confirmed cases of the deadly virus have risen to 45 as on February 10, the highest for a country outside China.

CNA reported that Indonesia and Taiwan have recommended precautions when visiting Singapore while Kuwait and Qatar have also issued travel advisories urging citizens to defer non-essential travel to the country in the wake of the epidemic which has claimed over 1000 lives and has infected more than 40,000 people across the world.

The outlet, however, quoted the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) as saying that it sees no reason for travel advisories against the country.

The Board, according to Strait Times, is projecting a 25-30 per cent drop in visitor arrival this year which is more than the 19 per cent decline in 2003 when Singapore faced the SARS outbreak.

Of the 45 confirmed cases, several of them have been linked to a meeting held in a hotel here last month.

“We see no reason for other countries to have travel advisories on Singapore – we’re very confident in the measures the Government has in place to contain the cases here,” STB chief executive Keith Tan was quoted as saying.

In its report, The Straits Times highlighted that tourists from China, the epicentre of the outbreak, remained Singapore’s top market last year, followed by Indonesia and India in second and third place respectively.

According to a Times of Israel report on February 9 stated that Israeli Health Minister Yaakov Litzman has advised his countrymen against travelling to seven East Asian countries and destinations — in addition to mainland China.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday gave the official name for the latest novel coronavirus, that has sickened more than 42,000 people, as ‘Covid-19,’ which stands for coronavirus disease starting in 2019.

The CO stands for corona, while the VI for virus and the D for the disease.

“Under agreed guidelines between WHO, the OIE Animal Health and FAO, we had to find a name that did not refer to a geographical location, an animal, an individual or group of people, and which is also pronounceable and related to the disease,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. (ANI)