Deep cleaning was under way at one of five KTV lounges yesterday, after staff were called up for special testing operations.
The KTV lounges are linked to an emerging cluster involving several Vietnamese social hostesses.
Mr Darren Peh, the owner of Club Dolce at Balestier Point, told The Straits Times yesterday evening: "We are carrying out disinfection works today and we have decided to remain closed until all the workers are confirmed to be negative for Covid-19." Mr Peh, who took over ownership of Club Dolce about two years ago, had earlier said that his club will continue with its normal operations.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) is investigating Covid-19 infections among a group of Vietnamese social hostesses who had frequented KTV lounges or clubs now operating as food and beverage outlets.
The ministry said yesterday that of the 19 new cases of locally transmitted infections it has confirmed, eight belong to the emerging KTV cluster. Balestier Point is a mixed-use development with both retail outlets and residential units.
Shopkeepers and residents said they noticed the KTV lounge reopening two weeks ago. A notice at the entrance indicated that renovation works had been carried out between June 4 and July 1.
Mr Eric Tan, the managing agent for Balestier Point, said he is concerned for the health of the building's tenants and residents. The 71-year-old told ST he has asked the cleaners to thoroughly disinfect common touch-points, such as railings, lift buttons and door handles.
Two other KTV outlets previously identified by MOH on Monday are Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre and Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre.
Yesterday evening, the ministry linked Wu Bistro at Golden Mile Complex and Club De Zara at Textile Centre to the KTV cluster.
Supreme KTV and Empress KTV were closed when ST visited yesterday afternoon. The KTV lounges appear to be staffed by the same people, shopkeepers said.
Shopkeepers at Far East Shopping Centre said most shops are closed by 8pm daily, but Supreme KTV was known to operate till late.
They said women who appeared to be lounge hostesses would often turn up at around 6pm. They would enter the KTV lounge at the basement without going through the mall.
Those who interacted with hostesses urged to go for free testing
The Ministry of Health has urged everyone who had interacted with Vietnamese social hostesses from June 29 to July 13 to undergo free Covid-19 testing.
The ministry is investigating the cases of infection among Vietnamese social hostesses who frequented KTV lounges and clubs operating as food and beverage outlets.
The free testing has also been extended to all who have visited Supreme KTV at Far East Shopping Centre, Empress KTV at Tanglin Shopping Centre, Club Dolce at Balestier Point, Wu Bistro at Golden Mile Complex and Club De Zara at Textile Centre during the same period.
Those who have visited similar KTV lounges or clubs operating as food and beverage outlets in the same period are also eligible for the free tests.
All who have interacted with Vietnamese social hostesses are advised to monitor their health closely and minimise their social interactions for 14 days. They should see a doctor immediately if they feel unwell. The list of testing venues and more details can be found at go.gov.sg/ktv-testing
Elderly shopkeepers who spoke to ST said they are worried after hearing news of the cluster, and will take the Covid-19 test if requested by MOH.
Shopkeepers at Tanglin Shopping Centre said Empress KTV resumed operations only on July 1, after renovation works were carried out.
The KTV lounge sits next to enrichment centre Math Vision, whose head of department, Mr Vinayak More, spoke to ST. The 42-year-old said he has seen young women turning up at the KTV.
"The KTV was closed for a long time, and only very recently restarted its operations," he added. "There are safe distancing ambassadors who come here about four times daily, but because the KTV opens later in the evening, there are no ambassadors around by then." He added that the centre has been disinfecting its common areas regularly.
A manager of a restaurant in the mall said the KTV does not have a kitchen, and had been ordering food to be delivered there ever since it reopened. "I know that the women working there also work at the other KTV at Far East Shopping Centre, because I've seen the same group of them there when I go past on the way home," he said.
"They'll all be mingling in groups, and I think they are a mix of Vietnamese and Thai nationals."
Deep-cleaning operations at Tanglin Shopping Centre started at 4.30pm yesterday.
The areas that were cleaned, which included the corridor outside Empress KTV and the toilets on the fourth floor, were cordoned off until about 5pm.
The cleaning staff only deep-cleaned the mall areas, and did not enter the Empress KTV premises.
Meanwhile, MOH is encouraging members of the public who had visited the five premises, similar KTV lounges or clubs operating as food and beverage establishments, or had interactions with Vietnamese social hostesses in any setting between June 29 to July 13 to get tested for Covid-19.