On August 27, we were stunned to hear the news that Singapore has its first case of Zika.
What is shocking is that it is locally transmitted. What is even more alarming is that in a span of just 10 days, the number of locally transmitted Zika cases shot up to 258 with two pregnant women diagnosed with that virus. And the number of new cases is still climbing.
The staggering numbers of Zika could well label Singapore a Z nation.
Already several countries have issued travel advisory to Singapore.
Within days, mosquitoes repellents, patches, wristbands and lotions flew off the shelves of Pharmacies, medicine halls and supermarkets. Believe it or not, I seem to smell citronella everywhere.
Young couples are seriously contemplating pushing back having a child. Parents are taking precaution to keep their children at home with windows closed and air-con on.
Open-air stalls and hawker centers in the identified Zika clusters are experiencing loss of patrons.
In times like this, it is not enough to spray. We need to pray.
I am praying for a good outcome.
The Chinese word for “crisis” (Wéijī) is composed of two Chinese characters signifying “danger” and “opportunity.” It is to say a presenting danger presents an opportunity.
As it turned out, in this crisis Singapore has showcased to the world how swiftly, sensibly and strategically we responded to the outbreak of Zika. The World Health Organization (WHO) lauded Singapore as a role model for countries in handling this viral epidemic.
The high level of transparency, the massive epidemiological work conducted, the public education and nationwide call to eradicate mosquitoes breeding sites and sources, the free and subsidized testing and the vector control to halt the spread of Zika – were all done with speed and synchronized effort.
May this challenging Zika episode be a defining moment for Singapore as it was in the days of SARS.
I believe when everyone in Singapore develop a zero toleration for mosquito breeding habitats and unite in concerted effort to eliminate them, we might be able to stop the spread of Zika and even dengue and chikungunya as well.
When that happened, we will not only have cleaner homes but also a cleaner environment that is no longer predisposed to mosquito-borne diseases.
That is the good outcome I am praying for.
Our sovereign and merciful God who has protected Your people from plagues and deliver them from pestilence, we pray for a good outcome for Singapore in this challenging episode of Zika.
We pray that You will bless and show Your divine favor upon the effort put in by leaders and people to check the spread of this virus. Let not these efforts be in vain but that it will lead to a cleaner environment that is less prone to mosquito-borne diseases.
Thank You for guiding scientists in Singapore to develop a low cost kit that can test for Zika in a matter of two hours.
Bless the field study of our National Environment Agency (NEA) to release male Wolbachia-carrying Aedes mosquitoes at three sites to reduce the mosquito population. Grant us success in our fight against Zika, dengue and chikungunya.
We pray that You will continue to bless our medical researchers to develop vaccine and find new ways of eliminating such viral diseases.
We pray Your healing grace to be upon those who are tested Zika-positive. Let them recover quickly and take personal responsibility to avoid spreading the virus.
We pray for the expectant women infected with Zika to have hope and strength in You and to revel in the miracle of birth, believing that every child is a gift from You to love for a lifetime. Protect all our pregnant mothers and their unborn babies.
For we believe Your Word:
“… let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you” (Psalm 5:11).
In Jesus’ name and for His glory we pray.