As many as 13 Indian citizens are reportedly infected with the Zika virus in Singapore, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed on Thursday. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said, "According to our mission in Singapore 13 Indian nationals have tested positive for Zika in Singapore." External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who was scheduled to attend Indian Ocean Conference in Singapore, will be participating in it through video conferencing, reported ANI. The conference will be held on September 1 and 2.
On Saturday, the country recorded its first case of the virus contracted locally, and by Monday, 59 cases of the disease were reported. The numbers went up to 115 by Tuesday, according to Reuters.
Construction workers are believed to have been the worst hit in the outbreak. However, officials have yet to confirm whether the Indians who contracted the disease worked in the sector. According to Heena Kanwar, executive director of the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics, foreign workers are "the most susceptible group" for infections "because of their living conditions". Owing to financial constraints, these workers often share living space with several people. The dormitories they share lack fans and proper ventilation, making it conducive for such infectious diseases to spread.
On Tuesday, Manpower Minister Teo Ser Luck said the government will take strong action against dorm operators who do not take preventive measures “because this is a very serious issue.” The nationalities of the other patients are not known yet.