Zika outbreak is now gripping Singapore.
As of Tuesday this week, the number of patients affected by the virus in the city-state has reached 82 people.
A number of countries such as Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United States, have issued a travel warning for their citizens against visiting Singapore.
Just like dengue fever, zika virus is transmitted through the bites of aedes aegypti mosquitoes.
The symptoms are also similar to the symptoms of dengue fever: sudden fever, rashes, muscle and joint pains, red eyes as well as fatigue.
The virus gives a small impact for most people but a fatal impact for fetus.
Pregnant women infected by the virus may give birth to a baby with microcephaly, as well as other brain disorders.
As Singapore’s neighboring country, Indonesia certainly has to stay vigilant.
Besides, the yearly mobility of Singapore citizens to Indonesia and vice versa, is very high.
In 2015, for example, the number of Singapore citizens visiting Indonesia reached 1.5 million people or equal to 4,000 people per day on average, while Indonesian citizens visiting Singapore in a year reaches 2.7 million people or around 7,500 people per day on average.
The government’s policy to issue a travel advisory to Indonesians against visiting Singapore is the right measure as a prevention measure.
The Health Ministry has also taken the right stop by issuing a circular letter that urges all heads of ports and health agencies to stay vigilant against the virus in their respective regions.
They are instructed to be closely monitor people coming in from other countries, especially from Singapore. The monitoring is also done by distributing the health alert card.
Passengers from countries affected by the zika virus such as Singapore are required to reveal their full identities and submit the form to the health officials.
The installing of thermo scanners (in ferry seaports, especially in Batam, is also one of the preventive measures that is appropriate.
However, the government should not only prevent the virus from entering the country from other countries but also detect the spreading the virus inside the country.
It is because Zika case was found in Jambi last year.
The patient infected by the virus was never been abroad nor has been to other regions.
It means, we all have lived with the virus since one year ago.
Efforts to prevent the spreading of the virus is also the same as measures to cope with dengue fever, that is by exterminating mosquito breeding, cleaning water storage, air, closing or burying containers that can accommodate water, plus fogging.
We also have to keep our environment clean so that wigglers of aedes aegypti mosquitos cannot grow.
We cannot delay the measures to prevent the spreading of the virus.
If the virus breaks out here, the state will have to spend a huge amount of money to tackle it.
And there will a big loss that we have to shoulder.
One of the sectors that will bear the brunt is the tourism sector, which the government has been trying to promote recently.
The number of tourists who will visit Indonesia will drop because other countries will issue a travel warning.