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KTV lounge involved in COVID-19 cluster closed for disinfection, does not know who infected hostesses are

KTV lounge involved in COVID-19 cluster closed for disinfection, does not know who infected hostesses are

Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre on Jul 13, 2021. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

SINGAPORE: At least one of the karaoke lounges linked to a growing cluster of COVID-19 infections has been closed for disinfection and is reviewing its safe management measures.

Supreme KTV, which currently operates as a food and beverage outlet, will be closed for the next few days “to make sure everything is disinfected and protocols are in place”, said its manager, who only wanted to be known as Mr Li.

“We all along have been following the protocols, but we will be looking into it further,” said Mr Li, referring to the tightening of safe management measures, such as safe distancing and mask-wearing.

The establishment at Far East Shopping Centre is one of the three premises that has been linked to infections among Vietnamese social hostesses who frequented KTV lounges or clubs operating as F&B outlets, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The cluster had eight cases as of noon on Tuesday (Jul 13).

READ: 19 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Singapore, 8 linked to emerging KTV cluster

The other two premises linked to the cluster are Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre and Club Dolce at Balestier Point.

Empress at Tanglin Shopping Centre. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)Club Dolce at Balestier Point. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

HOSTESSES WERE LIKELY PATRONS: SUPREME KTV MANAGER

There are seven staff members at Supreme KTV - all of whom have been told to quarantine, said Mr Li.

He added that these workers used self-administered COVID-19 test kits and all tested negative on Monday night.

He also stressed that his establishment does not hire hostesses, and he did not know who the infected Vietnamese hostesses were. Instead, he said they were likely patrons.

"To be honest, I do not know who they are. For our part, we allow customers to come in whether they're hostesses, or Singaporeans, or Chinese nationals or Vietnamese. We are not racist ... We don’t exclude (any group)," said Mr Li.

He emphasised that safe management measures were adhered to, especially as it was in the long-term interest of the business to do so.

"All of us are hoping we can reopen to nightlife entertainment. That's why we are trying to (get through) this period.

"The Government has given us a chance to operate as F&B, so we try our best to adhere to the rules that the Government sets."

Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre on Jul 13, 2021. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

MOH had said on Monday it would be conducting special testing operations for all staff members of these premises “to quickly uncover any community infection cases”.

Free COVID-19 testing will also be extended to anyone who has visited the premises or similar lounges or clubs operating as F&B outlets between Jun 29 and Jul 12.

Those who have interacted with Vietnamese social hostesses in any setting in the same period can also get tested for free.

"DISAPPOINTED": NIGHTLIFE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION

The president of the Singapore Nightlife Business Association Joseph Ong said it was “really unfortunate” to see such a cluster.

He said: “We are not sure how those social hostesses went around - obviously, it’s not something that is allowed.

"So we are disappointed that (it happened), despite fact that it was very clear … that clubs or bars are not supposed to do that type of business anymore.”

When asked about the possibility that the hostesses had been patrons, rather than employees, Mr Ong noted that it “could be the case”.

But he said that either way, there should not have been intermingling between them and other customers - venturing a guess that the cluster emerged because safe management measures had “likely” been breached in the establishments.

Mr Ong added: “The industry players who have pivoted need to be very careful about how they are conducting their business and adhering to safe management measures.”

"The rules were made clear to everyone and (the association) will again communicate the necessity to follow those guidelines."

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Source: CNA/cl(ac)

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