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Residents of Hougang HDB block to undergo 2nd round of COVID-19 testing after new cluster emerges

Shop employees at seven blocks near 506 Hougang Avenue 8 will also have to be tested for COVID-19.

Residents of Hougang HDB block to undergo 2nd round of COVID-19 testing after new cluster emerges

Block 506 Hougang Ave 8. (File photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: All residents and visitors of Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8 will have to undergo a second round of mandatory COVID-19 testing, after several new cases were detected in the area, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday (Jun 3).

Shop employees at seven nearby blocks will also have to be tested for COVID-19, the ministry said.

This comes after a new cluster was linked to Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8. The latest case traced to this cluster and reported in MOH's daily update on Thursday is a 58-year-old Singaporean who is a homemaker and lives at the block. The cluster now has a total of 13 cases.

"Since the last testing operations conducted at 506 Hougang Avenue 8 on May 21 and May 22, there have been new cases of COVID-19 infection in 506 Hougang Avenue 8 and the neighbouring blocks," said MOH.

"COVID-19 viral fragments were also detected in wastewater samples collected from some of these blocks," it added.

The seven neighbouring blocks are: 

- 511 Hougang Avenue 10

- 681, 683 and 684 Hougang Avenue 8

- 682 Hougang Avenue 4

- 685 and 698 Hougang Street 61

The new round of testing aims to detect cases who were still incubating the virus in the first round of testing and to prevent spread in the community, MOH said. 

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing will be conducted at the void deck at Block 507 Hougang Avenue 8 between 9am and 4pm on Jun 4 and Jun 5. 

"Those who are still awaiting their PCR test results are advised to minimise social interactions as much as possible," MOH said.

The Health Ministry said that those who miss their test on Jun 4 or Jun 5 should visit the tented pavilion at Block 685A Hougang Street 61 on Jun 6 or Jun 7 between 9am and 4pm for their mandatory PCR test, which is free. 

"In the event that a positive case is detected, MOH will isolate the case, identify all close contacts, test and quarantine them to protect the community from further transmission," the Health Ministry said. 

READ: 35 new community COVID-19 cases in Singapore, Hougang block identified as new cluster

READ: Authorities 'very concerned' about hidden COVID-19 cases in the community: Lawrence Wong

VOLUNTARY TESTING FOR RESIDENTS, VISITORS OF 7 BLOCKS 

MOH is also conducting voluntary PCR testing for residents and visitors of the seven blocks in the vicinity of Hougang Avenue 8. 

Residents of the blocks and those who visited from May 19 to Jun 3 are encouraged to come forward for testing, MOH said. 

The Health Ministry also advised residents and visitors to monitor their health closely and consult a doctor immediately if they feel unwell.

"Leaflets will be distributed and SMS notifications will be sent to the residents to provide them with more information," said MOH. 

The Health Ministry had previously tested 828 residents and visitors of Blocks 501 and 507 Hougang Avenue 8.

As of Thursday, 680 individuals were found negative and one has tested positive, said MOH, adding that epidemiological investigations are ongoing to determine linkages and the source of transmission.

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Source: CNA/vc

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