SINGAPORE – Residents of a Housing Board building in Bukit Merah showed up on Monday, June 28 to take mandatory Covid-19 tests which began at 9 a.m.
This came after the Department of Health (MOH) said Sunday evening that four residents of three households in Block 103 Henderson Crescent had tested positive for the coronavirus.
At 9 a.m. when The Straits Times visited the pavilion in Block 104B where the testing was taking place, there were no queues. Two safety distancing ambassadors were on site.
Resident Tan Boon Huay, 71, was one of the first to undergo the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) swab test.
The assistant tailor said she felt uncomfortable during the harvest, but the test would give her peace of mind.
Ms Tan, single, said: “We have to accept it, for ourselves and for others. Even though I am vaccinated and my neighbors too, there is always a chance of contracting the coronavirus.”
Earlier Sunday, she had picked up a free rapid antigen test (ART) kit from the lodge. The self-test kits have been distributed to residents of Redhill and Bukit Merah to help prevent further transmission of the coronavirus.
Another resident, Ms Adeline Tan, 60, was also swabbed on Monday, along with her husband.
The part-time real estate agent wore two masks – a surgical mask as well as a reusable mask – as an added precaution.
The couple are now shopping for groceries at a supermarket in the nearby Alexandra Road area after the Covid-19 cases were linked to the Bukit Merah View Market and the Hawker Center.
Although the market reopened on Sunday after being thoroughly sanitized, Ms. Tan is still worried.
She said: “As long as the residents are still on the move and the cluster is still open, there is still a chance that we will catch Covid-19.”
As on Sunday evening, there are 12 cases linked to the Henderson Crescent cluster and 91 to that of Bukit Merah View.
To detect possible asymptomatic cases in the community, those who interacted with residents of Block 103 Henderson Crescent between June 7 and June 26 are encouraged to take a Covid-19 test.
They can make an appointment at a regional screening center from Monday to Tuesday (June 29) or go to the block 104B pavilion on Tuesday.
In Lengkok Bahru, about a 12-minute walk away, a swab operation was also underway on Monday morning.
At 12:20, there was a queue of 12 people.
On Sunday, the Department of Health said virus fragments of Covid-19 had been detected in sewage samples from blocks 55, 56 and 57.
Epidemiological investigations are underway to determine the links and the source of transmission.
The Monday swab is mandatory for all residents, traders and employees.
Speaking to reporters on the empty deck of Block 53 where the tests are being carried out, Tanjong Pagar GRC MP Eric Chua said there were around 1,700 residents in the three blocks.
He added that traders can continue to operate their business after being swabbed.
Mr Chua, who is an MP for Queenstown, said: “We will be monitoring the situation closely over the next two days.”
Syed Fazley, Senior 1 student Syed Alwi, 13, who was among the swabs, said he would be learning at home to play it safe.
The Block 56 resident, who received his first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Sunday, added: “I have soccer training on Tuesday but I will not go back to school until my test is negative. C ‘good that they test everyone. “
Members of the public who have interacted with residents, traders or staff of the affected blocks can also be tested on the empty bridge on Wednesday, June 30 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Additional reports by Jason Quah