Latest Community Case Is Migrant Worker Who Worked Near Tekka Centre, Close Contacts Tested Negative

From a 15-day streak of zero Covid-19 community cases, Singapore has now reported 3 of them in the last 4 days, as well as our 29th death.

This might come as a concern to some.

The last 2 community cases reported came from Tekka Centre, and were both uncovered as part of the proactive testing of 876 people who work in and around the complex.

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The latest case on Sunday (29 Nov) is a warehouse assistant who also works around the area.

New case is a work-permit holder from India

Singapore’s most recent community case is a 41-year-old man who is a work-permit holder from India, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a press release on Sunday (29 Nov).

The migrant worker was tested on Thursday (26 Nov), when community testing of stallholders in and around Tekka Centre took place.

When his test returned a positive result on Friday (27 Nov), he was sent to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID), and was marked as Case 58424.

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As of now, he’s been regarded as an unlinked case of local transmission.

Though he hasn’t showed any symptoms of the disease, his serology test also came back positive, which means he was likely to be infected in the past.

Works at warehouses in Cuff Road

The man works at warehouses in Cuff Road doing stocktaking, MOH said.

Cuff Road is a lane off Serangoon Road, a few hundred metres away from Tekka Centre.

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As part of his job, he also delivers goods to Jothi Store and Flower Shop on 1 Campbell Lane.

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However, he doesn’t interact with customers there.

Close contacts tested negative

The worker has a number of close contacts.

One of them is a fellow warehouse assistant, who was also tested on Thursday (26 Nov).

That man got a negative result.

The new case also lives at Cuff Road with 2 other migrant workers.

Both of his room-mates have also tested negative.

876 tested in & around Tekka Centre

Case 58424 was one of the people tested during the community surveillance testing on Thursday (26 Nov).

The initiative helps uncover community cases in the community who might not have been found otherwise. Uncovering them will help prevent them from infecting others earlier.

In total, 876 people were swabbed. They work in and around Tekka Centre, which is Singapore’s largest wet market.

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Out of these, just 2 have tested positive. The remaining 874 have tested negative.

Other than the previously mentioned Case 58424, the other community case is a 60-year-old Singaporean woman who sells mutton at Tekka Market.

Both likely to be past infections

Just like the migrant worker, the woman returned a positive serological test result.

That means hers is likely to be a past infection too.

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After testing positive on Friday (27 Nov), she was recorded as Case 58412.

She was also sent to the NCID.

Infected stallholder lives in Yishun

The woman lives in Yishun Street 22 with her husband. He works at Mustafa Centre.

She also visits her children, who live in Bishan Street 13 and Tampines Street 86.

She also has a co-worker at her stall in Tekka Market.

As they are close contacts, all of them have been placed on quarantine.

They will also be tested, and given serological tests to see if she was infected by them.

Tekka Centre saw gathering

Separately, a gathering to celebrate Deepavali was held at Tekka Centre on Saturday (28 Nov), reported Lianhe Zaobao.

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Food was served buffet style — meaning participants had to get their own food, despite this being disallowed in eateries in Singapore due to safe distancing measures.

There were also alcoholic drinks served, and music was played.

Gathering involved 30 people, mingling was observed

The gathering involved about 30 people, who were divided into 6 tables, observed a Zaobao reporter who was at the scene.

Though that means that each table had 5 people seated, according to the rules, the reporter noted that diners would occasionally mingle with people from different tables.

They would also get food together while chatting and not maintaining a safe distance.

The participants came one after another on Saturder (28 Nov) afternoon, and some of them were from the businesses at Tekka Centre, Zaobao said.

The organiser of the event told the newspaper that it was held to celebrate Deepavali and someone’s birthday.

He claimed that he had repeatedly reminded participants to keep their distance, not stay for too long.

The gathering ended at about 8pm.

Not time to worry yet

While some Singaporeans might be worried about the situation in Tekka Centre, and wary that the complex might turn into a cluster, perhaps it’s not time to be concerned yet.

After all, the 2 community cases were both likely past infections, and everyone else has tested negative.

However, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to observe safe distancing measures dutifully, as we wouldn’t know whether an asymptomatic case is nearby.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook and Facebook.