Wholesale night market in Toa Payoh East closed for 2 weeks after several Covid-19 cases emerge

Stalls at the wholesale market in 2019 (left), and the site of the market on Sept 9, 2021. PHOTOS: KEVIN LIM, ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A wholesale night vegetable market in Toa Payoh East Lorong 7 has closed for two weeks from last Friday (Sept 3), after several Covid-19 cases were reportedly found there.

Before its temporary closure, about 10 fruit and vegetable stalls operated at the wholesale market from Monday to Saturday from 11pm to 5am. The market has been running for at least 30 years.

The Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 9) that the market is a "privately managed secondary distribution site for fruits and vegetables" and had closed voluntarily.

There is "negligible impact on food supply as the site serves a small client base", added SFA.

Chinese-language news publication Lianhe Zaobao first reported the closure on Thursday.

Vendors display their produce in crates and boxes along the street at the open-air market. There is no SafeEntry check-in requirement for customers.

A vegetable stall owner at the Toa Payoh Lorong 7 wet market said he used to get his vegetable supplies from the wholesale night market.

Since the closure, he has ordered his supply online from Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre.

"It takes a little longer to get our vegetable supplies and the process has become a bit more troublesome, but we don't have a choice," said the stall owner, who declined to be named.

Similarly, a yong tau foo stall worker at Lorong 8 Toa Payoh Hawker Centre said her boss now goes online to order supplies since the closure.

Some types of vegetables are slightly more expensive now compared with getting them for cheaper prices from the night market, said the food vendor, who did not want to be named.

Styrofoam boxes, crates and trolleys seen at the site where the vegetable wholesale night market operates, on Sept 9, 2021. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC MP Saktiandi Supaat, who oversees the ward, told The Straits Times that he is monitoring the situation.

No wholesalers have contacted him for help yet, he added.

A wholesaler from the market who contracted Covid-19 told Zaobao that he knew more than 10 people in the market who had been infected.

However, the market has not been identified as a Covid-19 cluster by the Ministry of Health so far.

There are three Covid-19 clusters in the Toa Payoh estate as at Tuesday.

Toa Payoh Bus Interchange, which is about 2km from the wholesale night vegetable market, has 183 Covid-19 cases as at Wednesday.

There are eight cases in the cluster at Madrasah Irsyad Zuhri Al-Islamiah, an Islamic religious school, and 17 cases in the cluster linked to Orient Goldsmiths and Jewellers.

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