SINGAPORE: Special testing operations began on Friday (Jun 18) for all employees and tenants at several shops in Redhill and Tiong Bahru, as authorities race to detect potential community transmission in the area.
It comes a day after more cases were confirmed in the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood, including one that was unlinked.
Employees and tenants at eight affected locations will be swabbed over two days at designated sites in Bukit Merah, including a temporary site at 2D Boon Tiong Road and 84A Redhill Lane.
READ: Bukit Merah View COVID-19 cluster - Virus could have spread via long queues, surfaces in toilets, says MOH
Mandatory testing is also being extended to all stallholders and employees at Tiong Bahru Market and Food Centre, after a COVID-19 patient visited 18 Jalan Membina.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, who is also a Member of Parliament for Tanjong Pagar GRC, said it was a precautionary measure and that no case had been picked up at Tiong Bahru market.
“Block 18 Jalan Membina is not too far from the market so, in case anybody went over there doing a preemptive testing,” she said.
“If a case is picked up then obviously, they have to make sure that (they do) all the same procedures (such as) contact tracing, who the person was in contact with.”
“We saw this play out with the Bukit Merah View side, initially it was one person and the market could continue, but once you start to pick up more than a few cases, obviously, the market had to be shut down to break that transmission.”
She added that Tiong Bahru market was “certainly not at that stage”, at the moment.
The nearby Tiong Bahru Yong Tao Hu Coffeeshop at 56 Eng Hoon Street, which is one of the affected locations, was shuttered. A stall assistant from the coffeeshop was among the 17 new COVID-19 cases linked to the Bukit Merah View cluster on Thursday.
MOH said on Thursday that it had conducted mandatory testing on Wednesday for all owners, staff and tenants working at 79 and 85 Redhill Lane, where the Redhill Market and Redhill Food Centre are located.
This was "out of an abundance of caution" after two COVID-19 cases were detected there.
All 397 owners, tenants and staff of shops and commercial units tested negative for COVID-19, the ministry said.
Free COVID-19 tests will also be offered to members of the public who visited the affected locations in the first half of June.