SINGAPORE: A hawker centre at Block 75 Lorong 5 Toa Payoh closed on Thursday (Jul 15) morning for deep cleaning after a person who works there tested positive for COVID-19, according to hawkers who said they were informed by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
Visiting the hawker centre on Thursday morning, CNA spotted a notice that said the hawker centre would be "closed till further notice".
"Deep cleaning and disinfection of the premises will be carried out on 15 & 16 July 2021," it read.
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Speaking to CNA over the phone in Mandarin on Thursday evening, a few hawkers said they were informed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday that they needed to close their stalls because someone who works there was found to have COVID-19.
They also said they were waiting to be taken to a hotel for quarantine.
MOH said on Friday in response to queries from CNA that it is conducting contact tracing at the market and hawker centre after detecting a COVID-19 case who works there.
A spokesperson added that hawkers, stall assistants and employees who worked there from Jul 10 to Jul 12 and were identified to be close contacts of the infected case have been placed on quarantine since Wednesday.
"The market and food centre was not ordered to close. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing," the spokesperson said.
On Thursday, the hawkers seemed surprised at the closure, but resigned.
"We were a mess when we first heard that we had to close immediately. It's the first time that we've had to close because of COVID-19," said Mr Lee, who runs a traditional claypot rice stall with two other people.
Another hawker, Steven Lim, who runs a Western food stall, expressed worries about takings.
"I don’t have anything to say. It's just a loss of income. We'll reopen again after this, but we're afraid there'll be no business," the 65-year-old said.
In June, 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Hawker Centre was closed for two weeks for cleaning. The market and food centre is currently Singapore's biggest COVID-19 cluster, with 94 cases as of Thursday. Telok Blangah Food Centre also had to close for cleaning for three days, after a hawker tested positive for COVID-19.