To ask the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources (a) how frequent are mosquito-breeding inspections carried out at old unoccupied private properties; and (b) whether the Ministry accesses the untenanted private properties owned by foreigners and foreign investors.
Reply by Dr Vivian Balakrishnan:
1. The National Environment Agency (NEA) carries out daily vector control operations in areas where dengue is currently transmitting. When all attempts to contact the owners of unoccupied or untenanted premises through their neighbours, grassroots, the Police and other Government agencies are unsuccessful, NEA officers will exercise its statutory authority to gain entry to these premises to conduct vector inspections after notifying the Police. This is done regardless of whether the private property is owned by a citizen or a foreigner.
2. Outside dengue clusters, residential premises including unoccupied or untenanted private properties are inspected regularly based on risk assessment. For example, premises are inspected more frequently based on the number of reported dengue cases in the vicinity, the feedback received on possible mosquito breeding or if they are not properly maintained.
3. Since NEA officers cannot be present everywhere at all times, it is important for owners and occupants to take precautions to prevent mosquito breeding. All potential areas or receptacles that may accumulate stagnant water should be eliminated. All residents should cooperate with NEA officers seeking to access their premises for vector inspection in order to protect their families and neighbours.