Punggol Waterway Point's play areas closed after HFMD outbreak at childcare centre

Waterway Point said it has thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the mall's play areas.
Waterway Point said it has thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the mall's play areas.PHOTO: FRASERS CENTREPOINT MALLS

SINGAPORE - Punggol Waterway Point has closed two play areas as a precaution after an outbreak of hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) at a pre-school in the mall.

HFMD had broken out at My First Skool @ Waterway Point in mid-December.

The school is listed as one of the centres with " with active clusters of prolonged transmission" on the Ministry of Health's website.

Centres are deemed active clusters if there are more than 10 cases or more than 13 per cent of pupils over a period of more than 16 days.

A total of 23 children were affected and 20 had returned to school by the end of December, a spokesman from My First Skool said.

The school, which has 318 children aged from two months to six years old enrolled, was notified of its last case on Jan 16.

It stopped all outdoor activities when the first case was reported, and the pupils have not been using the play areas in the mall since then, added the spokesman.

"Besides sanitising the centre daily, we have also been adding a stronger disinfecting solution since last Friday," she said.

Waterway Point said it has thoroughly cleaned and disinfected the mall's play areas - Wonderland and Happy Park.

The mall did not say when the parks were closed, and it is not known when they will re-open, but they will "actively monitor" the situation at My First Skool.

Its spokesman said: "We take the safety and hygiene at our mall seriously. Due to the initial outbreak of HFMD at My First Skool located within the mall, we have stepped up our efforts and carried out additional rounds of thorough cleaning and disinfection at the mall's play areas - Wonderland and Happy Park.

"While we actively monitor the situation at My First Skool, these play areas for children will remain closed as a precaution."

Waterway Point also said that precautions are taken to ensure the play areas are hygienic.

"As part of our standard operating procedure at Waterway Point, regular cleaning and disinfection is carried out daily, including the play areas for children," the spokesman said. "All our play areas display signs advising parents against allowing their children to enter the play areas if they feel unwell."

HFMD affects mostly children and is easily transmitted among toddlers, making pre-schools hot spots for the disease.

Besides a fever and sore throat, sores develop in the mouth, throat, palms and soles.