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Town councils step up cleaning at high human traffic areas to counter coronavirus

Town councils step up cleaning at high human traffic areas to counter coronavirus

Minister for Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli speaking to cleaning staff about enhanced cleaning measures for Housing and Development Board (HDB) estates. (Photo: Cindy Co)

SINGAPORE: Cleaning for areas with high human traffic will be stepped up, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Wednesday (Feb 5), a day after Singapore reported the first four cases of local novel coronavirus transmission.

Speaking to reporters after observing cleaners disinfect and sanitise a block in Tampines, Mr Masagos said that all town councils have been “instructed” to clean high traffic areas more frequently. 

This includes places like railings, lift buttons and playgrounds, he said.

READ: 4 locally transmitted cases among new coronavirus patients in Singapore

READ: Coronavirus outbreak - Schools, eldercare facilities to suspend large gatherings after first local transmission

“NEA (National Environment Agency) has been calling the supervisors to remind them of the proper way of cleaning, the kind of solutions they should be using, the kind of concentration they should be putting in their cleaning solutions,” said Mr Masagos.

He added that town councils will keep up enhanced cleaning until the Health Ministry gives the clear that there is no community spread of the virus in Singapore.

He also reminded the public not to “get swayed by rumours”, especially calls to avoid places with suspected cases of the virus.

“Immediately after we know there’s a case, NEA will supervise the premise owners to make sure the place is properly disinfected and that it is safe for the public to go to,” he said.

“What it leaves us to do now is to step up our own hygiene habits,” said Mr Masagos.

“Let’s be a first-world people and keep this up, not only for the purpose of the crisis, but also to make sure that Singapore is the kind of place that everyone practices good hygiene habits.”


Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng visited Chinatown to check in on how businesses there are faring, and to observe ramped up cleaning practices at a gift shop.

Employees at the shop now clean the surfaces more often than the usual four times a day that was practised. Hand sanitisers have also been made available to them. 

READ: What we know about the 6 new cases of novel coronavirus in Singapore

NTUC secretary-general Ng Chee Meng and Manpower Minister Josephine Teo visiting a shop in Chinatown in February 2020. (Photo: Gaya Chandramohan)

Speaking to reporters at the shop, Mrs Teo said that the Government understands that people, particularly those who work at the frontlines, may be worried. However, she assured that there are protective steps employers and employees can take.

The first thing to do is to step up cleaning, she said.

“There are, for example, countertops that may be part of human interactions and we want to make sure that the shopkeepers are helping to keep the premises clean,” she said.

She added that it extends to all workplaces that have “high human contact".

"Employers can also play a part to help their employees in knowing what to do when customers walk in with symptoms such as coughing or sneezing," she said. 

“It may be friendly advice to the customer to go see a doctor, get treated, or perhaps serve them in other ways through the telephone." 

Reiterating Mrs Teo's message, Mr Ng urged workplaces to use alcohol-based wipes to clean surfaces.

“This is so we can use a second line of defence to prevent transmission,” he said. 

Both Mrs Teo and Mr Chee also stressed the importance of personal hygiene. 

“Of course, if you are not well, seek medical attention promptly,” Mrs Teo said.  

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Source: CNA/ja


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