SINGAPORE - A steady stream of people, including the elderly with walking aid and in wheelchairs, came to the void deck of Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8 on Friday (May 21) afternoon for their Covid-19 swab test.
For the first time, an entire block of residents, comprising 116 households, will be undergoing mandatory Covid-19 testing as a precautionary measure. This is after some residents were found to have tested positive for Covid-19.
Health Promotion Board (HPB) staff in full personal protective equipment (PPE) were attending to them at one of four enclosed stations where polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests were administered.
Residents who have taken their tests are advised to remain at home until the results are out.
Madam Tea Soi Noi, 71, was among the first to arrive. "It was my first time taking a swab test. It was very fast, I didn't feel much," said Madam Tea, who lives with her youngest son in his 30s.
Housewife Amy Azni, 52, also took the test early on Friday afternoon with her youngest daughter, aged 18.
She said her two other children, aged 29 and 28, would go for the test later in the afternoon as they were still working.
"I cook at home so we don't really need to go out," said Ms Amy.
To prevent overcrowding at the test site, Friday's session is for those staying on the ground floor to those on the fifth floor.
Swabbing will also take place on Saturday, as announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Thursday. Saturday's swabbing session will be carried out for residents living on the higher floors.
Last July, 58 households were offered testing after nine Covid-19 cases were detected in Block 111 Tampines Street 11.
Leader of the Opposition Pritam Singh and fellow Aljunied GRC MP Gerald Giam went to the block on Friday morning and spoke to residents and staff there.
Mr Giam, who is MP for the ward and vice-chairman of the Aljunied-Hougang Town Council, said the town council has cleaned the entire block including high-touch surfaces after it was informed about the cases last night. There will be a second round of cleaning on Friday to ensure the block is thoroughly disinfected, he added.
Resident Ang Hin Li, 37, said his nine-year-old son Bo Jun teared up and had a nose itch after his PCR test on Friday.
"I told him this is a normal reaction. He felt better after I passed him my phone to play Brawl Stars, which is one of his favourite mobile games," said Mr Ang, 37, who is an employee at a supermarket chain.
"We have to do our part to trace the Covid-19 cases," he added.