ION Orchard To Close For Disinfection From 12-15 Jun

Recently, Covid-19 has afflicted several people who work in malls, causing clusters to form.

Major malls like JEM and Westgate in the West and Jewel Changi Airport in the East have had to be shut down to break the chain of transmission.

Now, for the 1st time, a mall in the heart of Orchard Road will be closed for 4 days after infections were found in 3 people who work there.

That mall is ION Orchard, located at the junction of Orchard and Paterson roads.

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The Ministry of Health (MOH) has also encouraged people who visited the mall to get a Covid-19 test, fully funded by the Government.

ION Orchard closed from 12-15 Jun

In a media release on Friday (11 Jun) night, MOH revealed that the landmark mall will be closed from 12-15 Jun.

No members of the public will be allowed to enter on those days.

The mall will reopen on 16 Jun.

The closure will enable the whole mall to be deep cleaned and disinfected.

Underpasses will still be open

ION Orchard announced the closure in a Facebook post on the same night.

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They also said that the 2 underpasses linked to the mall will still be accessible for pedestrians, one of which is ION Orchard link, which leads to Tangs on the other side of Orchard Road.

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The other one that will still be open is ION Paterson Link, which leads to Wheelock Place across Paterson Road.

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3 infections among ION workers

Though the closure of an entire mall is drastic, the measure is to “break any potential chain of transmission”, MOH said.

That’s because the ministry is concerned over 3 Covid-19 cases that have emerged among staff there so far.

They are:

  1. Case 64112: 35-year-old female Malaysian national who works as a retail assistant at Four Leaves Bakery in ION Orchard and AMK Hub. She developed symptoms of a fever, cough, sore throat and runny nose on 5 Jun but didn’t seek treatment till 7 Jun. She was tested for Covid-19 by a general practitioner (GP) that day and it came back positive.
  2. Case 64114: 29-year-old male Myanmar national who works as a repair worker at Grandwork Interior. He was tested on 5 Jun as part of Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) and it came back positive on 7 Jun. An individual test on the same day also came back positive. He developed a fever on 1 Jun and body aches on 4 Jun but was not tested when he visited a clinic both times. He received his 1st dose of vaccine on 31 May.
  3. Case 64135: 57-year-old female Singaporean who works as a promoter at Guardian in ION Orchard. She developed a dry throat on 7 Jun and an ear ache on 10 Jun. She was tested for Covid-19 at a polyclinic and it came back positive on the same day.

All 3 cases were unlinked when they were reported, and the latest case, the Guardian staff, was 1 of 3 unlinked cases reported on Friday (11 Jun).

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MOH has investigated the cases, and there’s evidence of “ongoing transmission within the mall”, The Straits Times (ST) reported ION’s management as saying in a notice to tenants.

Staff to be tested, visitors encouraged to get tested

All workers who’ve been working at ION Orchard from 28 May will take part in a “special testing operation”, MOH said.

However, visitors to the mall should also come forward for a free swab test, the ministry added.

Specifically, those who visited its retail shops or used its services/facilities from 3-11 Jun.

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That’s the period that the infected cases were at the mall during their infectious periods.

However, people who just walked through ION Orchard to get to other places like Orchard MRT station don’t need to be tested, MOH added.

Where to get tested for free

From 12-25 Jun, they can book an appointment at Fullerton Health Testing Centre in Raffles City, or Raffles Medical Group’s 2 testing centres at:

  • Raffles Hospital – 585 North Bridge Road
  • Raffles Medical @ Shaw Centre Orchard – 1 Scotts Road, #05-01 to #05-11

Those with children below 12 years old who need to get tested may book an appointment with Kingsway Medical Clinic – 352 Clementi Ave 2, #01-103 – or Fullerton Health.

Alternatively, they can also book their appointments at the following Regional Screening Centres:

  • Former Da Qiao Primary School – 8 Ang Mo Kio Street 54
  • Former Shuqun Secondary School – 450 Jurong East Street 21
  • Former Coral Primary School – 20 Pasir Ris Street 51
  • Former Bishan Park Secondary School – 2 Sin Ming Walk
  • Former Bedok North Secondary School – 20 Jln Damai

Lastly, if you’re feeling unwell, there’s also the “Swab and Send Home” option at any Public Health Preparedness Clinics (PHPC) islandwide.

For more details of the testing and to book an appointment, do check out MOH’s advisory here.

Do monitor your health if you visited

The possibility that Covid-19 transmission may have been ongoing at a major mall in Orchard is alarming, considering we’re so close to the end of the Phase 2 (Heightened Alert) period.

If you visited the mall recently, do monitor your health closely and minimise social interactions in the 14 days after your visit. Seek medical treatment if you feel unwell.

Do also get tested to protect your loved ones and the community.

Hopefully, the spread can be contained, and we can look forward visiting ION Orchard when it reopens.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook.