Forum: Good hygiene practices help keep virus at bay

A photo of a lunchtime crowd at the Maxwell Food Centre.
A photo of a lunchtime crowd at the Maxwell Food Centre.PHOTO: ST FILE

We thank Mr Bill Chua Yew Thwan for his feedback (Extra care needed at hawker centres to prevent spread of virus, Jan 28). The National Environment Agency (NEA) and Singapore Food Agency have issued a joint advisory to provide guidance to operators of food establishments, including our hawker centres, to maintain high standards of hygiene and cleanliness to safeguard public health.

Food handlers have been reminded not to prepare or handle food if they feel unwell. Food operators should also keep food preparation areas and premises clean and pest-free, and ensure that food preparation surfaces, utensils and cooking equipment are clean.

Stallholders and cleaning contractors have been urged to step up their cleaning efforts and implement measures to maintain good public hygiene. These include cleaning frequently touched areas, such as table tops, seats, toilets, lifts, refuse bins and hand rails, more often.

Members of the public are also encouraged to do their part and maintain good personal hygiene practices, such as binning used tissues and rubbish properly, keeping dining tables clean and returning trays along with soiled crockery after meals.

In consultation with the Ministry of Health, NEA has also developed interim guidelines to assist owners and occupants of non-healthcare premises and residential units to carry out cleaning and disinfection operations in areas which may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus.

As a precautionary measure to minimise the risk of transmission of the virus, NEA has also worked with the relevant sectoral leads to send out sanitation and hygiene advisories to stakeholders of premises with high public access, such as hotels and transport operators, town councils and managing agents of private and commercial buildings.

Tony Teo

Director, Environmental Public Health Operations

National Environment Agency

Leong Hon Keong (Dr)

Senior Director, Compliance Management Division

Singapore Food Agency

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2020, with the headline 'Good hygiene practices help keep virus at bay'. Print Edition | Subscribe