Hyderabad: Screening for the Zika virus among people arriving from Singapore started at the Hyderabad international airport from Wednesday night. Two airlines operate 15 weekly flights between Singapore and Hyderabad and around 300 passengers arrive daily from Singapore.
The first locally transmitted case of Zika was announced in Singapore on August 27. By Thursday the number crossed 100, including 13 Indians. The first imported case of Zika was, however, detected in Singapore in May.
The threat of the virus, however, still looms large over Andhra Pradesh as screening of passengers arriving from Singapore had not started at Vizag airport until Thursday. Three flights operate between Vizag and Singapore every week carrying close to 100 passengers in each flight. Thus around 300 travellers from Singapore have been entering every week into AP with no checks.
No travel advisory has been separately issued for travellers to Singapore by the Central government till now unlike the US, UK, Australia, Taiwan and South Korea that have done so. The website of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has an advisory for those travelling to Zika-affected countries but does not have a list of such countries like the websites of Center for Disease Control and Prevention, USA and European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
When contacted, Dr M. Anuradha, regional director, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, said, “Though media has reported about it, confirmed reports of Zika from Singapore are yet to reach the ministry, and the World Health Organisation has to update its Zika-affected list of countries by including Singapore in it. However, verbal orders have been given to authorities at all ports of entry to screen all those arriving from Singapore for the Zika virus.”...