All public places visited by people with Covid-19 in the Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) cluster while they were infectious will be closed for two days for deep cleaning. And individuals who had been at those places at the same time should get tested for the virus, which will be free for them, said the authorities yesterday.
The closures - which include food and beverage outlets as well as places of worship that the cases visited from April 15 to 27 - are meant to reduce the spread of the coronavirus from undetected cases in the community, said the Health Ministry (MOH).
The ministry will also help test staff in the affected places, as part of surveillance measures to ring-fence virus transmission.
Speaking at a press conference, Education Minister Lawrence Wong said government agencies will be approaching operators and venue owners to close these places over the weekend.
Several places were visited multiple times by infected cases, such as Hajjah Fatimah Mosque and City Harvest Church in Jurong West.
A spokesman for the church said its Jurong West premises were closed for professional disinfecting and deep cleaning yesterday, after it was informed that a Covid-19 case had been to the building.
"Given the spike in community cases this week, all in-person services and meetings, including cell group meetings, have been suspended with immediate effect for three weeks, until May 16, for both our premises at Suntec and in Jurong West," she said.
Mr Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force on Covid-19, said people at these places at the same time as infected cases will get SMSes to remind them to see a doctor if they feel unwell. The messages will include instructions on where to go for free testing, he added. "This will also enable us to detect any cryptic cases quickly and enable us to control the infection better."
Mr Wong reiterated that these people are not close contacts of the confirmed cases - who would have already been placed on quarantine - but have been identified through the TraceTogether and SafeEntry contact tracing systems.
As at yesterday, 13 Covid-19 cases have been identified among staff and patients of the hospital. TTSH has locked down the affected wards, among other moves.
The ministry said it will also test patients who were discharged from the hospital on or after April 18, as well as visitors to the hospital during this period.
Healthcare institutions have also been reminded to closely monitor patients previously admitted at TTSH from April 18, it added.
Where to get tested
Free Covid-19 testing will be offered to the following groups of people:
• Patients who had been discharged from Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH), or visitors to the hospital, on or after April 18; and
• Individuals who had been to, or who work at the public places that individuals in the TTSH cluster visited during their infectious period. They are strongly encouraged to visit a Regional Screening Centre or Public Health Preparedness Clinic (PHPC) for a government-funded swab test, said the Health Ministry yesterday.
From May 3 to May 16, these individuals can book an appointment for a Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction test at any of the "Swab and Send Home" PHPCs islandwide or walk in at any one of the following four regional screening centres:
• Former Da Qiao Primary School at 8 Ang Mo Kio Street 54;
• Former Shuqun Secondary School at 450 Jurong East Street 21;
• Former Coral Primary School at 20 Pasir Ris Street 51; and
• Former Bishan Park Secondary School at 2 Sin Ming Walk. The opening hours are from 9am to 12pm, and 1pm to 4pm daily. Only asymptomatic individuals will be accepted at the regional screening centres.
Those who are feeling ill and experiencing symptoms such as a cough, fever or runny nose should see a doctor or visit a PHPC instead.
Individuals may also be redirected to their nearest PHPC in the event that the regional screening centres are crowded.
List of places
The places visited by the cases from the Tan Tock Seng Hospital cluster during their infectious period from April 15 to Tuesday are:
• FairPrice outlets at Toa Payoh Hub, Kitchener Complex and VivoCity
• Healthy Kopitiam Foodcourt at Tan Tock Seng Hospital
• Hajjah Fatimah Mosque in Beach Road
• Uniqlo store at Orchard Central
• Al-Falah Mosque in Bideford Road
• Abdul Hamid Kg Pasiran Mosque in Gentle Road
• Cash Converters Toa Payoh
• Four Fingers and Genki Sushi at Junction 8
• Subway at Nanyang Community Centre
• City Harvest Church in Jurong West
• Esplanade Xchange, The Food Inn at Esplanade MRT
• Stirling Steaks in East Coast Road
• Paco Funworld at Bugis +
• Tuk Tuk Cha at Bugis Junction
• Yayoi and Don Don Donki at 100AM
• Poke Theory at 111 Somerset
• 313 Somerset
• Ang Mo Kio Hub and the Malaysia Boleh foodcourt at the mall
MOH also urged all visitors and patients who were at the hospital from that date to visit a regional screening centre or public health preparedness clinic for a free test.