Halimah asks for more virus aid for the vulnerable
President Halimah Yacob has personally requested that additional aid be given to vulnerable groups in Singapore to help protect themselves from the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan.
They will receive hand sanitisers and face masks, and groups like Youth Corps Singapore will step up outreach efforts to raise awareness on how they can better protect themselves, Madam Halimah told reporters on the last day of her state visit to Indonesia yesterday.
This aid will come from the President's Challenge, a fund-raising effort to help the less fortunate and build a more caring society.
"I have asked my President's Challenge team to look at how to galvanise some of the resources (we have) in order for us to help to support some targeted groups," she said, adding that these groups would include the elderly.
Among the local transmission cases announced on Tuesday - where the patients had no recent travel history to Wuhan or elsewhere in China - was a 44-year-old Indonesian, working as a maid in the household of an earlier confirmed case.
Madam Halimah noted that Indonesians were worried for the woman and gave assurances that she is being given "the best medical care possible" in Singapore.
The Government is tracing all the people whom she had contact with, the President added.
The coronavirus was also discussed in President Halimah's meetings with Indonesian President Joko Widodo and Vice-President Ma'ruf Amin on Tuesday.
She noted that Mr Joko felt the situation was a matter of concern for Indonesia as it affects tourism.
Some of the businessmen she met who were running hotels also said they had seen cancellations.
Madam Halimah noted that Singapore and Indonesia signed a memorandum of understanding on health cooperation last year, and this is a basis for cooperation and sharing of information that is important.
She added that it is understandable that Singaporeans are concerned about the escalating coronavirus situation and should take steps to be vigilant.
"The last thing we need to do is to panic," she said. "If we start panicking, it becomes very counterproductive."