Coronavirus pandemic

Coronavirus: Life goes on with some precautions at Tampines block

Some residents spooked by 11 Covid-19 cases linked to block, but others are not too worried

Two new infections, confirmed on Friday, brought the total number of cases linked to the Tampines block to 11. The Health Ministry said there is no evidence of the disease spreading beyond the two affected households.
Two new infections, confirmed on Friday, brought the total number of cases linked to the Tampines block to 11. The Health Ministry said there is no evidence of the disease spreading beyond the two affected households.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

Many residents of the Tampines Housing Board block where members of two households were found to be confirmed Covid-19 cases about two weeks ago say that life is going on as usual around the estate.

Still, some have been spooked by the disease and have taken extra precautions such as keeping their windows shut.

Health officials placed 58 households under phone surveillance at Block 111 Tampines Street 11 on July 2 after nine cases of Covid-19 infection were confirmed there.

All 58 households live in the same section of the block and share a common lift lobby and stairwell with the nine cases.

Two new infections, confirmed on Friday, brought the total number of cases linked to the block to 11.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) said that these cases had been earlier quarantined and there is no evidence of the disease spreading beyond the two affected households.

When The Sunday Times visited the block yesterday, many residents said that they were not worried about being infected as they have been taking precautions, such as monitoring their health and donning masks when heading out.

But some residents of the affected part of the block were concerned that their neighbours might be among the households linked to the Covid-19 patients.

Housewife Etta Chuah, 43, said in Mandarin that she gets worried whenever she sees neighbours doing laundry in the common corridor without a mask on.

"As a precaution, I keep all my windows (facing the common corridor) shut," Madam Chuah added.

She said that while her husband and 17-year-old twin daughters go out to work and school as usual, they take precautions such as keeping a safe distance from others while outside.

GETTING TESTED FOR PEACE OF MIND

I've also heard stories of how painful or uncomfortable the swabbing process could be. But now that I've done it, it's actually quite alright - not as horrible as people make it out to be. It was to give myself, as well as the people holding the wake, peace of mind.

MADAM ETTA CHUAH, a resident of Block 111 Tampines Street 11, explaining that she went for testing as she had to attend the wake of one of her close friends.

NOT ALL ARE AFFECTED

Some people don't understand that it's not the whole block that has been affected and only a certain section has the cases.

MS WONG, whose daughter has been advised by her tuition centre not to turn up and to take online lessons instead.

 
 
 

"And one thing we would always do is to wash our hands right after we step into the house."

Madam Chuah said that she did not want to be tested at first as she felt well and did not see the need to do so.

"I've also heard stories of how painful or uncomfortable the swabbing process could be," she added.

Madam Chuah said that she changed her mind and had a swab test as she had to attend the wake of one of her close friends.

She added: "But now that I've done it, it's actually quite alright - not as horrible as people make it out to be. It was to give myself, as well as the people holding the wake, peace of mind."

MOH had offered swab tests to 160 people who were residents and visitors of the 58 households as a precautionary measure.

It said that, as of Friday, 123 people had been tested with all their results coming back negative for Covid-19.

Epidemiological investigations are still under way.

 

Some residents said that they took the tests as they were offered for free and saw no harm in getting tested.

But a few said that they did not see the need to go for testing as they had no interactions with the affected households and had no symptoms.

Another resident, who wanted to be identified only as Ms Wong, was not offered a swab test as she lives in a different section of the block, but she said that she would have taken it if given the chance - for "peace of mind".

Ms Wong, 42, who is a housewife, said that her daughter has been advised by her tuition centre not to attend in-person classes but to take online lessons instead.

"Some people don't understand that it's not the whole block that has been affected and only a certain section has the cases," she said.

Re-elected Tampines GRC MP Desmond Choo said that residents he has spoken to have been relieved to learn that all those tested have had negative results.

He added that heightened hygiene and sanitation measures in the area - including a thorough cleaning of the nearby Tampines Round Market last Monday - have not disrupted work or study routines for residents.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 12, 2020, with the headline 'Life goes on with some precautions at Tampines block'. Print Edition | Subscribe