May 5, 2009 / 1:24 PM / 9 years ago

Singapore slaps flu quarantine order with fine, jail

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - City-state Singapore has ordered eight people who have just returned from Mexico into a week-long home quarantine, threatening those who violate the order with a fine or a prison term.

A Health Ministry statement said on Tuesday those who violated the order would be fined S$10,000 ($6,789) and/or six months in jail. The penalty would be doubled for those who breach the order for a second time.

“The Home Quarantine Order is issued under the Infectious Diseases Act to contacts and suspected contacts of the Influenza A (H1N1-2009) virus, with the aim of limiting the spread of Influenza A (H1N1) in the community,” it said.

The eight, two foreigners and six Singaporeans, have to monitor their temperature twice a day and check for flu-like symptoms. They must report to a designated public hospital immediately if they develop such symptoms, the ministry said.

Singapore, which was hit hard by the 2003 SARS respiratory virus epidemic, has not had a confirmed case of the H1N1 virus. But the government has warned people to be “mentally prepared” for it.

The virus has infected more than 1,200 people in 21 countries over the past week. To date, 27 deaths have been officially confirmed — 26 in Mexico and one in the United States — though more than 100 are suspected to have died from the flu.

($1 = 1.473 Singapore Dollar)

Reporting by Nopporn Wong-Anan; Editing by Sugita Katyal

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