Your picture: Reduce the Covid-19 transmission risk posed by groups of smokers


I have recently seen groups of food delivery workers gathering at a non-smoking area at Bukit Panjang Plaza for long smoke breaks and chats, ignoring the "No Smoking" sign prominently displayed on the pillar next to them.

There is a TraceTogether token vending machine just in front of that spot, where people often queue.

That non-smoking area seems to have become the regular smoking area for food delivery workers.

First, the National Environment Agency should fine the errant smokers and the building management for not enforcing smoking prohibition rules at its premises.

Second, a more serious issue is how the smoking behaviour of many food delivery workers may be aiding the transmission of the coronavirus.

These workers often gather in groups to wait for their delivery orders. In the meantime, they smoke close to one another, with their masks off.

Not only do they risk infecting one another, but they could also infect food and beverage staff when they collect their orders, as well as the many customers who might come into contact with them at the eatery.

Smokers seem to have become a "protected class" during this pandemic. As long as they smoke, which they do many times a day, they can remove their masks with impunity.

Singapore has recorded more than 1,000 new cases every day for almost a week, and its healthcare capacity is under serious threat.

Moral suasion and advisories do not seem to have made an impact on getting people to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission by not smoking in groups.

More needs to be done to curb this frequent non-mask-wearing risky behaviour during the pandemic.

Lim Teck Koon

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