SINGAPORE: COVID-19 testing started on Tuesday morning (Jun 8) for residents of a Punggol HDB block, the latest in a string of mass testing operations after infected cases were detected in housing blocks.
Mandatory swab tests for more than 300 residents in Block 325A Sumang Walk were announced on Monday night, after eight infections were discovered across three different households.
The latest case was a 13-year-old girl, a student of Paya Lebar Methodist Girls' School. Her infection was confirmed last Saturday and she currently has no links to previous COVID-19 cases.
Four other residents – members of the same family – tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in May. They were linked to the Changi Airport Terminal 3 cluster.
Three people in another household also tested positive – a 28-year-old Singaporean homemaker whose infection was confirmed on May 20 and two family members.
READ: All residents at Pasir Ris HDB block to undergo COVID-19 testing after 4 cases identified there
The Ministry of Health (MOH) said the mandatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is to prevent any possible spread in the community.
If any cases are detected, they will be isolated and their close contacts will be tested and quarantined, MOH said.
MP Janil Puthucheary (PAP-Pasir Ris-Punggol) said residents were calm after receiving word of the testing.
“Actually, many of them volunteered to help … the residents’ network, the grassroots volunteers and the residents of the block offered to help their neighbours,” said Dr Puthucheary.
He said they will be “keeping an ear out” for residents who may be under quarantine or stay-home notice orders and need assistance.
“We have quite a few families here with children. They know each other quite well and they've pledged to help to look after each other.”
Common areas at the block have been cleaned and disinfected, Dr Puthucheary said.
A total of 361 residents across 124 households will undergo the swab tests. The tests will be conducted at the pavilion at Block 324 Sumang Walk on Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am to 4pm.
MOH has also encouraged people who visited the block from May 10 to Jun 5 to come forward for testing.
The ministry said in an update on Tuesday evening that 230 residents and visitors of Block 325A Sumang Walk had been tested as of 12pm.
UPDATE ON HOUGANG AVENUE 8 TESTING
MOH also provided an update on the testing exercise for several blocks in Hougang Avenue 8 last week.
A total of 4,091 visitors of Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8, as well as residents and visitors of seven nearby blocks, have voluntarily stepped forward for testing as of 12pm on Tuesday.
Of these, 3,965 individuals were negative for COVID-19 infection and 126 more test results are pending.
The testing exercise last week was the second round of mandatory COVID-19 testing for residents and visitors of Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8.
It was conducted after a new cluster was linked to Block 506, and viral fragments were detected in wastewater samples from some of the blocks in the area.
The seven neighbouring blocks are 511 Hougang Avenue 10; 681, 683 and 684 Hougang Avenue 8; 682 Hougang Avenue 4; and 685 and 698 Hougang Street 61.
Additional reporting by Nisha Rahim.