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Wet market Covid-19 clusters: MOH 'strongly' urges unvaccinated individuals, especially seniors, to stay at home over next few weeks

SINGAPORE — With the growing Covid-19 clusters at wet markets and food centres, the authorities are urging people who have not been vaccinated, especially seniors, to "stay at home as much as possible over the next few weeks".

Wet market Covid-19 clusters: MOH 'strongly' urges unvaccinated individuals, especially seniors, to stay at home over next few weeks

Chong Boon Market and Food Centre in Ang Mo Kio will close for two weeks for deep cleaning from July 18, 2021.

SINGAPORE — With the growing Covid-19 clusters at wet markets and food centres, the authorities are urging people who have not been vaccinated, especially seniors, to "stay at home as much as possible over the next few weeks".

The National Environment Agency (NEA) and the town councils managing public housing estates will be limiting access and implementing mandatory SafeEntry check-in at markets where Covid-19 cases have been detected among stallholders or stall assistants.

"Group sizes will be limited to two persons for hawker centres, food courts and coffee shops as a default from July 19," the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release on Sunday (July 18).

"We will also tighten up measures to better manage access to the affected wet markets from July 19 onwards."

MOH on Sunday recorded 88 new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases, including 37 linked to the Jurong Fishery Port cluster. 

The daily total was 92, the highest since Aug 28 last year when 94 fresh infections were recorded.

Over the past weekend, the ministry uncovered clusters in wet markets and hawker food centres, "likely seeded by fishmongers and stallholders" who visited the Jurong Fishery Port.

"We have found clusters at two markets — Hong Lim Market and Food Centre and Chong Boon Market and Food Centre — as well as cases at Amoy Street Food Centre and Chong Pang Market and Food Centre." 

People at Whampoa Wet Market, Telok Blangah Crescent Block 11, Taman Jurong Market, Redhill Market, Geylang Serai Market, Geylang Bahru Market, 527 Ang Mo Kio Market, 726 West Coast Wet Market and Bukit Timah Wet Market have also tested positive, it added.

MOH said it is concerned that there remain "cryptic transmission chains", which might continue to spread within the community.

"The porous nature of wet markets makes contact tracing and isolation less straightforward," it explained. "We are particularly concerned that these wet markets serve a range of customers, including the vulnerable elderly, some of whom remain unvaccinated."

MOH urged members of the public to reach out to their older relatives or neighbours who remain unvaccinated to help them buy daily necessities.

"With the upcoming public holiday on July 20, individuals should continue to limit their overall number of social gatherings to not more than two a day, whether it is to another household or to meet with friends and family members in a public place," the ministry said.

"Even those who are vaccinated, but have unvaccinated elderly at home, should avoid crowded places or extensive social interactions. Vaccinated persons may still get infected with the virus, although most will typically experience mild or no symptoms. They may then inadvertently carry the virus home to seniors."

The ministry urged everyone who is eligible — particularly seniors who are most at risk of developing serious symptoms — to get vaccinated as soon as possible.

"Seniors can walk in to any vaccine centre for their vaccinations. They can also book an appointment through the vaccine.gov.sg website," MOH said.

The ministry also urged partially vaccinated individuals to bring forward their appointments for their second vaccine dose.

Finance Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force handling the pandemic, said that the Government is very concerned because seniors tend to frequent the wet markets, as well as neighbourhood shops and food centres.

"So our advice for unvaccinated seniors is this: Stay home as much as possible. Avoid going out unless for essential reasons," he said in a Facebook post.

Related topics

Covid-19 coronavirus coronavirus vaccine vaccination seniors Jurong Fishery Port

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