SINGAPORE - The seven McDonald's staff infected with Covid-19 had been deployed across nine different outlets, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday (April 20).
This spurred the ministry to advise the fast-food giant to stop its operations until May 4 at its more than 135 outlets, including its takeaway and delivery services, which it did so on Sunday.
"As of 12pm, 18 April 2020, seven McDonald's employees who had worked across nine different outlets have been found to have Covid-19 infection," an MOH spokesman told ST.
"As a preventative action to prevent a possible outbreak, and to prevent or reduce the spread of Covid-19, the Director of Medical Services, Ministry of Health, has directed McDonald's to suspend operations of all outlets, including their delivery and drive-through services, until 3 May 2020 (inclusive)."
The fast-food giant had on its Facebook page said that it was advised by MOH to suspend its operations.
Responding to queries from The Straits Times on Monday evening, a spokesman for McDonald’s said the seven affected employees include a mix of restaurant managers and crew, and that none of them are delivery riders.
One of them had initially worked at the Changi Airport Terminal 2 outlet, till it closed on April 1. In the next nine days, he was attached to work at three different outlets: Pasir Ris Central, Pasir Ris Sports Complex and a drive-through outlet at a Shell petrol kiosk in Tampines Avenue 2.
McDonald’s had on Sunday told ST that this drive-through outlet and its outlet at Changi Airport Terminal 3 were to be closed for deep-cleaning after two employees tested positive for Covid-19.
This came after five other employees were diagnosed with the disease on April 12. They worked at outlets in Lido, Forum Galleria, Parklane and Geylang East Central.
According to McDonald’s, in the course of normal operations, it is necessary for McDonald’s to sometimes deploy employees to other restaurants to provide support.
ST understands that McDonald’s moved crew members across its different outlets during the ongoing circuit breaker period to help meet manpower needs of branches that relied on Malaysian workers, who have decreased in number here.
Earlier on Monday, a McDonald's spokesman told ST that following the confirmation of the first few Covid-19 cases among its staff, it stopped all people movement with what it called a "'stay in position' principle".
The spokesman did not specify when this took place.
On Sunday, McDonald's announced that all its branches here would be closed at 11am that day, and will remain closed till May 4, as a preventive measure to curb the spread of Covid-19.
McDonald's employs more than 10,000 people in Singapore and serves more than six million customers every month.
It has said that it will continue to pay the salaries of all employees whose roles are disrupted.
When asked what will be done about McDonald's stock of food, its spokesman said that all perishables with a short shelf life will be discarded.
He also said that McDonald's acted as soon as it was advised by MOH to suspend its operations, but did not specify when this took place.
Case details from McDonald's
Employee 1: The employee works at the Lido outlet, and the last day at work was on April 2, but had been attached to work at the outlet in Parklane for one day on March 30. The employee visited the doctor on April 3 for a sore throat and fever, and was given a 5-day MC. The employee visited the doctor again on April 8 and was sent for a swab test.
Employee 2: The employee works at the Lido outlet, and had rest days from April 4 to April 6 after the last day at work on April 3. The employee visited the doctor on April 7 for joint pains and muscle aches.
Employee 3: The employee works at the Parklane outlet, and the last day at work was on April 8. The employee was also attached to work at the Lido outlet on March 30, April 1 to April 3 as well as April 6. The employee visited the doctor on April 9 for a fever.
Employee 4: The employee works at the Forum Galleria outlet, and the last day at work was on April 8. The employee is a roommate of Employee 3. Although Employee 4 was not unwell, the company requested the employee to go for a swab test on April 10.
Employee 5: The employee works at the Geylang East Central outlet, and the last day at work was on April 8. The employee visited the doctor on April 9 for a fever and was referred to the hospital for a swab test.
Employee 6: The employee works at the outlet at Changi Airport Terminal 3, and the last day at work was on April 10. The employee was on leave on April 11 and April 12, and visited the doctor on April 13 for a cough, before being sent for a swab test.
Employee 7: The employee works at the outlet at Changi Airport Terminal 2 till it closed for business on April 1. Until April 10, this employee was attached to three different outlets: Pasir Ris Central, Pasir Ris Sports Complex and a drive-through outlet at a Shell petrol kiosk in Tampines Avenue 2. The employee, whose last day at work was on April 10, visited the doctor on April 13 for a cough, and was given a 5-day MC. The employee was sent for a swab test on April 15.