Correction directions issued over claims PA, RCs involved in organising SAFRA Jurong dinner linked with COVID-19 cluster

Correction directions issued over claims PA, RCs involved in organising SAFRA Jurong dinner linked with COVID-19 cluster

joy garden safra jurong
A private dinner held at Joy Garden restaurant at SAFRA Jurong has been linked to a cluster of COVID-19 cases. (Photo: Google Street View)

SINGAPORE: Facebook posts claiming that the People's Association (PA) and/or the Residents' Committees (RCs) were involved in organising a dinner event at SAFRA Jurong that a COVID-19 cluster is linked to are false, the POFMA Office said on Wednesday (Mar 18).

As of Tuesday, the COVID-19 cluster linked to the dinner event on Feb 15 at Joy Garden Restaurant in SAFRA Jurong is Singapore's largest, with 47 confirmed cases. 

These statements were posted on Facebook and shared by users 'Henryace Ace', Mr Sebastian Ying, and Mr Lim Tean on both his Facebook pages, the POFMA Office said.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing, who is the minister in charge of PA, has instructed the POFMA Office to issue correction directions to all three Facebook users.

An article on the Government's Factually website said that PA and the RCs were not involved in organising the dinner function on Feb 15, and were "not in a position to cancel it".

"PA and the RCs also did not fund nor publicise the dinner event," the article added.

"The event was a private dinner function organised by a singing instructor for members of her singing groups." 

It added that the Facebook posts made by several users claiming PA and the RCs' involvement in the function between Mar 8 and Mar 17 were "entirely false".

In a Facebook post on Wednesday, following the issuance of the correction direction, 'Henryace Ace' said that he had "posted on FB that PA organised an event at SAFRA Jurong linked to new virus cases", and that he was "terribly mistaken and now understand this to be false".

"I unreservedly apologise. I have already deleted the offending post," he said.

As of 3.40pm on Wednesday, Mr Sebastian Ying's Facebook page could not be found and there did not appear to be any posts containing the claims on Mr Lim Tean's page. 

Explore our interactive: All the COVID-19 cases in Singapore and the clusters and links between them

SOME PA VENUES SUSPENDED ACTIVITIES

After the cluster was announced, PA said some of the patients linked to the function had subsequently attended classes and activities at seven community clubs and eight residents' committees. Activities at these venues were suspended for 14 days.

PA also said it took "immediate action" and disinfected the affected rooms, along with other possible areas that the infected individuals might have visited.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said on Mar 10 that many locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in Singapore "were the result of the socially irresponsible actions of a few individuals" who continued to attend events and activities despite being unwell.

To curb the spread of the coronavirus in Singapore, members of the public should avoid social contact and see a doctor early if unwell, the health minister added.

"This socially irresponsible behaviour poses a risk to all of us. The measures we have implemented will only work if individuals cooperate and behave in a socially responsible manner," said Mr Gan.

Those who are unwell, even with mild flu-like symptoms, should see a doctor and stay at home to prevent spreading illness to others, said the Ministry of Health.

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Source: CNA/jt(mi)

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