New Pasir Panjang Terminal Cluster Involves 4 Covid-19 Cases

As Singapore experiences what seems to be a new wave of Covid-19 infections locally, the emergence of new infection clusters comes as no surprise.

On Wednesday (5 May), the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced a new cluster at Pasir Panjang Terminal, Singapore’s 10th.

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The surfacing of a 4th case has prompted testing on port workers there, to detect any hidden cases.

Community case on 5 May becomes 4th linked to the cluster

Singapore reported only 1 community Covid-19 case on 5 May, a 59-year-old trailer truck driver.

The GKE Express Logistics Pte Ltd employee worked at Brani and Pasir Panjang Terminals, and was last at work on 1 May.

He didn’t report for work the next day, after developing a fever and sore throat.

Instead, he visited a GP clinic and took a swab test, with his result only returning positive on 4 May. An ambulance promptly conveyed him to Alexandra Hospital.

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His serology test result is still pending, to determine whether his is a case of reinfection.

The 59-year-old is now the 4th case linked to Pasir Panjang Terminal, after 3 others had been reported earlier:

  • 61822 – Dorm case. 23-year-old lashing specialist, tested positive on 10 Apr.
  • 62691 – Dorm case. 35-year-old stevedore, tested positive on 28 Apr.
  • 62684 – Dorm case. 23-year-old stevedore, tested positive on 30 Apr.

Cluster prompts testing of workers at Pasir Panjang Terminal

In light of the rising number of cases at Pasir Panjang Terminal, MOH disclosed that they’ll be carrying out tests on PSA Singapore port workers there.

This comes after investigations led them to conclude that transmission could have occurred at the Terminal.

In response to queries from MS News, PSA Singapore confirmed that there have been 4 Covid-19 cases at Pasir Panjang Terminal. They outlined their precautionary measures, which include lashing teams donning PPE before boarding vessels.

You may read the statement from the PSA Corporate spokesperson in full here:

PSA Singapore (PSA) has confirmed four COVID-19 cases at Pasir Panjang Terminal. Two cases were confirmed on 28 & 30 April 2021 respectively – they are a lashing specialist and a lashing supervisor. Both workers stay at Pasir Panjang Residence and handle wharf-side operations, as well as the lashing and unlashing of containers onboard vessels.

The latest case is a contracted haulier driver who transports containers between PSA’s Brani and Pasir Panjang Terminals. He is employed by GKE Express Logistics Pte Ltd and was tested positive on 4 May 2021.

An earlier confirmed case on 10 April 2021 was a lashing specialist employed by Seafront Support Company Pte Ltd. He stays at Brani Residence.

All four cases had been at Pasir Panjang Terminal for work. PSA is working with the authorities on contact tracing and testing, and have taken enhanced precautionary measures in our terminals. Besides conducting the disinfection of common areas, we are carrying out deep cleaning procedures in line with the National Environment Agency’s guidelines at the affected dormitories and common facilities such as canteens, entry/exit areas and toilets.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, our precautionary measures at the wharfside include lashing teams donning PPE before boarding vessels and strictly staying within their work areas when on board. From 30 April 2021, PSA enhanced its safe measures by implementing a contactless segregated mode of cargo operations to avoid contact between vessel crew and lashing teams. This is to safeguard the health and safety of both parties while continuing with operations at our terminals.

The health and well-being of our employees, customers, partners and port users are a top priority for us. PSA is monitoring the situation closely and is ready to implement additional precautionary measures to prevent any spread of infection, while minimising disruption to our port operations.

Hope local transmissions will dwindle

After enjoying looser restrictions for several months, the uptick of local cases has certainly placed a dampener on our promising progress thus far.

With 10 open Covid-19 clusters now, it’s understandable that authorities are returning to stricter measures for the population’s safety.

And although it unfortunately coincides with the upcoming Hari Raya festivities, let’s be thankful that measures aren’t as tight as the same period last year.

So spend time with your loved ones responsibly, and follow the guidelines MOH has set out.

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Featured image adapted from Quartz.