Ebola scare turns out to be a false alarm in Singapore

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 August, 2014, 4:14pm
UPDATED : Friday, 15 August, 2014, 12:48am

Singapore experienced its first Ebola scare yesterday when a Nigerian woman was sent to a hospital isolation unit in the city state.

The patient, who is in her 50s, was identified as a possible Ebola case by doctors in a private hospital, the Gleneagles Hospital, the Straits Times reported.

She is believed to have flown into Singapore recently and had arrived at the hospital's emergency department with a fever.

She was immediately isolated and transferred by ambulance to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.

Philip Choo, chief executive of the government hospital, said it was a false alarm and the woman had been discharged, the newspaper said.

"We saw a patient with a history from Nigeria," Choo said, adding that her detailed history revealed "no contact with any suspect or confirmed patients".

Despite a couple of scares in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the region, there have been no confirmed cases of the Ebola virus in Asia. Underscoring the fears that the virus might spread to Asia, Korean Air Lines said yesterday it would suspend flights to Kenya.

The South Korean flag carrier will stop operating flights between Incheon and Nairobi from August 20, it said.

No Ebola cases have been reported in Kenya or other parts of East Africa but the South Korean airline has a history of taking risk minimisation measures before other airlines. Korean Air flies to Nairobi, which is the main gateway for East Africa, three times a week. It did not say when it would resume its service.

The world's worst outbreak of Ebola has claimed the lives of 1,069 people and there are 1,975 probable and suspected cases, the vast majority in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, according to the World Health Organisation.

Nigeria has confirmed 11 cases after a doctor who treated the Liberian man who brought the disease to Lagos fell ill, the health minister said yesterday. The doctor had been one of those involved in the initial treatment of Patrick Sawyer, who had collapsed at Lagos airport on July 20, Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said during a news conference in Abuja.

A member of staff of the West African regional economic body Ecowas this week became the third person in Nigeria to die of the disease.

Reuters, Associated Press