Drivers, stallholders, food delivery staff test negative for coronavirus so far

Voluntary testing scheme may be extended to others, including uni students in hostels

Stallholders and food delivery staff were tested for Covid-19 in Marine Parade, like at this site in Marine Drive, over the weekend as part of a pilot for stallholders in the constituency. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
Stallholders and food delivery staff were tested for Covid-19 in Marine Parade, like at this site in Marine Drive, over the weekend as part of a pilot for stallholders in the constituency. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

All drivers, stallholders and food delivery personnel who have participated in voluntary testing exercises have tested negative for Covid-19 so far, said Health Minister Gan Kim Yong yesterday.

They include the more than 10,000 taxi and private-hire car drivers, as well as the more than 750 stallholders and food delivery personnel, who were tested earlier this month.

The Government will next consider expanding the voluntary testing scheme to other groups, including university students in hostels, added Mr Gan during a virtual press conference yesterday.

Voluntary testing operations for taxi and private-hire car drivers took place from Sept 8 to Sept 22.

Stallholders and food delivery personnel were also tested in Marine Parade over the weekend as part of a pilot for stallholders in the constituency, as well as for selected groups of food delivery personnel.

The testing was done at temporary swab sites in the community, such as at taxi depots, as well as the Health Promotion Board's regional screening centres.

"Next, we will be considering extending the testing to other hawker centres, markets, coffee shops, as well as other groups, such as university students in hostels," said Mr Gan.

Details on the roll-out of Covid-19 testing for stallholders and food delivery personnel will be made known when ready, said the Health Ministry (MOH) in a statement.

During the press conference, Mr Gan thanked those who stepped forward for the voluntary tests, and said the negative test results so far are a good sign, as they indicate low prevalence in the community.

He added: "It is also an indication that our safe distancing and safe management measures, coupled with the use of face masks and heightened vigilance on everyone's part, are powerful and effective weapons in our fight against Covid-19."

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post last night that he was glad that the more than 10,000 taxi and private-hire car drivers who stepped forward for testing had been given a clean bill of health.

 
 
 

"Let's continue to take precautions, practise safe management measures and keep public transport safe," he said in the post.

The voluntary tests were part of a larger initiative that the MOH announced on Aug 29, which involves offering one-time polymerase chain reaction tests to community groups that have frequent interactions with the public.

They include taxi and private-hire car drivers, food delivery personnel and key vendors servicing foreign worker dormitories.

Mr Gan noted that the overall Covid-19 situation in Singapore is stable, but he urged Singaporeans not to let their guard down.

"Each precaution we take, however small it may seem, is the key to keeping our families, our friends and fellow Singaporeans safe."

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 24, 2020, with the headline 'Drivers, stallholders, food delivery staff test negative for virus so far'. Subscribe