Coronavirus: Long queues form on first day of temperature screening at office buildings

The queue to enter Suntec City Tower 5 on Feb 10, 2020.
The queue to enter Suntec City Tower 5 on Feb 10, 2020.PHOTO: SEAN THIA
People queue for temperature screening at Suntec City on Feb 10, 2020.
People queue for temperature screening at Suntec City on Feb 10, 2020.PHOTO: SEAN THIA

SINGAPORE - Long queues formed at Suntec City and Raffles Place on Monday (Feb 10) morning as office buildings started temperature screening of workers and visitors as part of heightened measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. 

At Suntec City, the queues started forming as early as 8am.

Bank compliance director Sean Thia, 36, who waited more than 40 minutes at Suntec City to have his temperature taken, said he saw two security staff doing temperature checks at the entrance to Suntec City Tower Five.

There were more than a hundred people in the queue, he told The Straits Times.

Directions signs or queue markers appeared to be absent, he added.

Mr Anthony Yip, deputy chairman of APM Property Management which manages Suntec City, said the preventive measures it took were intensified in response to the Ministry of Health raising its disease outbreak response up a level to orange last Friday (Feb 7).

He said: “During the temperature screening on Monday morning, the queue started to build up from 8.30am and additional staff were deployed on-site to assist. The queue was cleared at 9.40am. We will be stepping up our measures to smoothen the temperature screening process going forward.”

Mr Yip added that “the well-being of our occupiers and visitors are of utmost importance to us and we seek our occupiers’ and visitors’ patience and understanding as we work together during this period”.

Over at Raffles Place, snaking queues of office workers were seen forming outside office buildings near the entrances of Raffles Place MRT station.

A bank executive who works at One Raffles Place said: "It is ridiculous that (there is) only one thermometer at 8.30am when the line snakes all the way to the Raffles Place MRT exit."

The executive, who wanted to be identified only as Mr Yee, said that the large gathering went against the health advisory to avoid large crowds so as to minimise any exposure to the coronavirus.

A spokesman for One Raffles Place said that all tenants and visitors entering the building had to get their temperatures checked.

 
 
 

“The queue today was a result of the heightened measures to deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” he explained, adding that Monday was the first day these measures were implemented.

As a precautionary measure, building management staff and contractors need to get their temperatures checked daily. The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of common areas at One Raffles Place will be increased. There is also a designated holding room and route for suspected cases to minimise exposure of the patient to the general public.

Singapore moved its disease outbreak response up a level to orange on Friday as the coronavirus spread further within the country.

Under the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition, or Dorscon, code orange means the outbreak is deemed to have moderate to high public health impact.

The Ministry of Health announced on Friday additional measures to minimise the risk of further transmission of the virus in the community, one of which would be temperature screening.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Singapore is 43 as of on Sunday with six in critical condition. Four people have been discharged, making a total of six who have recovered.  Local cases now exceed imported ones.


People queue to enter Suntec City Tower 5 on Feb 10, 2020. PHOTO: SEAN THIA


People queue at a temperature screening point at Suntec City on Feb 10, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG


People queue for temperature screening at Suntec City on Feb 10, 2020. ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG