All 26 Hua Zai food outlets closed until June 14 due to likely Covid-19 transmission

The Hua Zai outlet in NTUC Foodfare at 308 Anchorvale Road has been closed since May 30, 2021. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

SINGAPORE - The Ministry of Health (MOH) is investigating cases of Covid-19 infection among people who work at Hua Zai food outlets after finding likely ongoing transmission.

To break any potential chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises, all 26 Hua Zai outlets, which sell roasted meat, will be closed to the public from Tuesday (June 1) to June 14, said MOH.

The Hua Zai outlet in NTUC Foodfare at Block 308 Anchorvale Road in Sengkang has been closed since May 30, after a cluster linked to the coffee shop was formed.

The cluster now has nine cases associated with it.

Among the seven unlinked cases reported on Tuesday were a 26-year-old delivery rider for the Pizza Hut outlet in Hougang Green and a 37-year-old resident at Mindsville @ Napiri - a home for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The delivery rider was tested for Covid-19 on May 26 as part of the ministry's special testing operations for delivery riders working in Hougang, and his test result was negative then.

On Monday, he developed a fever, cough, chills and loss of the sense of taste, and sought medical treatment at a general practitioner clinic.

The delivery rider was immediately isolated when his antigen rapid test came back positive for the virus.

His polymerase chain reaction test came back positive for Covid-19 infection on Tuesday.

The 37-year-old resident at Mindsville @ Napiri had a runny nose and cough on May 29 before developing a fever the day after.

She was taken to a polyclinic the next day, where she was tested for Covid-19.

The remaining five unlinked cases include a front-desk staff member at Hotel Boss and a carpark roving officer at TOP Parking.

There were also eight linked cases in the community, including two pre-schoolers aged two and four.

Both had been quarantined before their test results came back positive on Monday.

The two-year-old is from Carpe Diem at 2 Ang Mo Kio Drive and was last in school on May 14.

The four-year-old is from My First Skool at Block 332B Anchorvale Link and was last in school on May 12.

A 17-year-old employee at Ang Mo Kio-Thye Hua Kwan Hospital was added to the Hong Ye Group cleaners cluster, which now has 22 cases.

She had last gone to work on May 28 and was a close contact of a previous case.

The teenager developed a fever and a sore throat on Sunday but did not seek medical treatment until Monday, when she visited a general practitioner clinic.

Her test came back positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

Three new clusters with three cases each were announced on Tuesday by MOH.

The first is linked to a 35-year-old kitchen crew member at Kota Zheng Zong Bak Kut Teh in Serangoon Gardens who was confirmed to have the virus on May 17.

The second is linked to a 24-year-old man who works at McDonald’s (The Woodgrove) and was found to have the virus on May 26.

The last is linked to a 65-year-old housewife who was confirmed to have the Covid-19 on Sunday.

There were also three imported cases who had been placed on stay-home notice on arrival in Singapore.

These included a 38-year-old man who arrived from the Philippines on April 23 for a work project in Singapore and served stay-home notice until May 7.

His pre-departure test in the Philippines on April 22 and tests on April 23 and May 6 were negative for the virus.

He is asymptomatic and was detected when he was tested for Covid-19 on May 29.

The ministry has assessed that he is likely to have had a past infection and has classified his case as imported, based on his travel history.

The 18 new cases take Singapore’s total tally to 62,069.

MOH also said that the number of new cases in the community has decreased from 176 cases two weeks ago to 125 in the past week. The number of unlinked cases in the community in a week has also fallen from 30 cases to 27 over the same period.

With 22 more patients discharged on Tuesday, 61,466 patients have fully recovered from the disease.

A total of 217 patients remain in hospital, including two in critical condition in the intensive care unit, while 338 are recuperating in community facilities.

Singapore has had 33 deaths from Covid-19 complications, while 15 who tested positive have died of other causes.

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