SINGAPORE, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- Singapore is confident that China and other countries will work together to win the battle against novel coronavirus, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said here Saturday evening.
Speaking at a Chinese New Year Celebration at the Teck Ghee constituency, Lee said that China is doing all it can to contain the spread of the coronavirus, including imposing travel restrictions within China, cancelling outbound tour groups and bringing back from overseas residents of Hubei Province hardest hit by the virus.
"We have confidence that China and other countries will work together to win this battle," Lee added.
Regrettably, sentiments against those from China have emerged in the last few days in many countries, said the prime minister, adding that such sentiments are "not helpful at all."
"The virus may have started in China but it doesn't respect nationality or race. It doesn't check your passport before it goes into your body and anybody can be infected."
Lee stressed that the coronavirus situation should be seen as a public health issue and not as a racial or international diplomatic problem.
Talking about Singapore's recent decision to restrict travelers of any nationality with recent travel history to the Chinese mainland from entering or transiting in Singapore, Lee said it was a pre-emptive measure taken purely to protect Singapore's public health.
Since the outbreak of SARS, Lee said that Singapore has become better prepared with medical facilities like the National Centre for Infectious Diseases and healthcare professionals who are trained to deal with this scenario.
"So I have every confidence that we can overcome the challenge before us," he added.