Joint Statement by MOH and MND on Special Testing Operations at 506 Hougang Avenue 8 and 559 Pasir Ris Street 51
May 23, 2021
The Ministry of Health (MOH) will be conducting polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing at the housing blocks as stated below. These are blocks where infected cases have been located, and testing is done as a precaution to prevent any possible spread in the community. In the event that a positive case is detected, MOH will isolate the case, identify all close contacts, test and quarantine them to protect the community from further transmission. We will also report updates on any positive cases in our daily press releases.
So far, there is only one Housing & Development Board (HDB) block in Singapore with infected cases seen in more than two households. The tests are typically completed within three days.
Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8
MOH had identified 10 COVID-19 cases1, from four different households, residing at 506 Hougang Avenue 8. They are largely Persons Under Quarantine who turned positive for COVID-19. This means that they have been isolated early and ring-fenced, and not likely to be moving around while being infectious. Nevertheless, MOH took all the necessary public health measures to prevent any further spread to the community.
We have established that four of the units with confirmed cases are in the same stack, and our initial assessment is that airborne transmission along the stack is highly unlikely. Epidemiological investigations are ongoing to determine linkages and the source of transmission.
We are therefore not taking any chances. The National Environment Agency (NEA) has worked with the town council (TC) to carry out stepped up cleaning measures to clean and disinfect the block. At the same time, we are casting our surveillance net as wide as possible, including administering PCR tests for the whole block.
MOH has just concluded mandatory PCR tests for 407 residents and visitors of the block. This was done from 21 to 22 May 2021. Thus far, one individual was found to be positive for COVID-19 with 126 more test results pending. More details on the positive case will be reported in upcoming press releases by MOH.
Those who are still awaiting their test results are advised to stay at home and seek immediate medical attention if they feel unwell. Individuals who missed their test can proceed to any of the clinics in Annex A between 23 and 24 May 2021 for the mandatory free swab test. They are to bring along their NRIC and TraceTogether Tokens, for identification purposes.
Block 559 Pasir Ris Street 51
Adopting the same cautious approach, MOH will be conducting mandatory PCR tests on 23 May and 24 May 2021 for all 243 residents of Block 559 Pasir Ris Street 51, as four COVID-19 cases2 have been detected in two different households living in the block.
Residents are advised to go to Coral Regional Screening Centre (Former Coral Primary School) between 23 May to 24 May, 9 am to 12 noon, and 1pm to 4 pm for their tests.
Residents can call MOH at 1800-333-9999 if they have queries.
Stepped Up Measures by HDB and NEA
The HDB worked with MOH to contact residents living in the affected block to take the PCR test. HDB also deployed safe distancing ambassadors to ensure that safe management measures are in place in the swab ops centre set up at the void deck of the block.
Officers from NEA were deployed to closely monitor the cleaning and disinfection works carried out at Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8 and Block 559 Pasir Ris Street 51 by the TCs and their cleaning contractors, to ensure that they were performed in accordance with NEA’s guidelines. Cleaning and disinfection works for Block 506 Hougang Avenue 8 and Block 559 Pasir Ris Street 51 were completed on 21 May and 22 May respectively, with particular attention placed on frequently touched areas, such as lift surfaces, lift buttons, handrails, letterboxes, amongst others. As a precautionary measure, NEA had also worked with the TCs to expand the scope of disinfection to include amenities in the vicinity that could be used by residents, such as playground and central refuse chute.
In line with tighter precautionary measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community, NEA has reminded all TCs to step up their cleaning standards and implement measures to upkeep good public health hygiene such as increasing the frequency of cleaning of areas with high contact points and adhering to good practices reflected in NEA’s advisory on sanitation and hygiene.
Advisory on Provision of Services
We are testing the residents in these two blocks as a precaution. The residents are not under quarantine. They are allowed to leave their homes and continue with activities allowed under the prevailing Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) measures. Delivery of goods and services such as cylinder gas, food and general repair works to their premises can still carry on with the appropriate safe management measures and wearing of masks. We strongly urge service providers to continue to extend their services to the residents and support our fellow Singaporeans.
1 Cases 63055, 63074, 63150, 63286, 63292, 63392, 63455, 63456, 63517. The 10th case will be stated in a later press release.
2 Cases 63120, 63444, 63445, 62873