Alternative Supplies To Be Ramped Up To Meet Demand: Grace Fu

With the 2-week closure of Jurong Fishery Port, the largest of its kind in Singapore, some Singaporeans were concerned over seafood supplies.

This led to long queues at some wet markets.

Now that all fish and seafood stallholders in markets have been shut down, such worries may increase.

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However, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) has reassured Singaporeans that our supermarkets are well-stocked with seafood, so we don’t need to panic buy.

All seafood stalls closed as infections spread to fishmongers

Jurong Fishery Port was shut down from 17-31 Jul after a Covid-19 cluster was discovered there.

The number of infections then increased and spread to fishmongers in markets across Singapore.

This prompted the National Environment Agency (NEA) to take the drastic step of shutting down all fresh fish and seafood stalls in markets managed by the agency or its appointed operators.

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This took effect from Sunday (18 Jul) morning.

Stallholders can reopen after negative test

In a Facebook post on Sunday (18 Jul), NEA told affected stallholders to head down to Regional Screening Centres for a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.

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Once they get a negative result, they can reopen for businesses immedaitely.

They’ll also be given self-testing Antigen Rapid Test (ART) kits, and must test themselves on the 7th day since they were exposed to the virus.

Supermarkets have both chilled & frozen seafood

However, the news of seafood stalls in markets being closed might worry Singaporeans who’re used to getting their fresh fish from these places.

After all, it’s uncertain how long it’ll take for their favourite stall to resume business.

To that, the SFA reassured Singaporeans in a Facebook post on Sunday (18 Jul).

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They said the nation’s main supermarket chains have reported that they’re well-stocked with both chilled and frozen seafood.

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They’ve also been trying to increase seafood supplies in their stores by increasing orders from local fish farms and redirecting imports to their distribution centres.

Buy only what you need, SFA urges

Thus, if we can’t get seafood from wet markets, there’s always the option of heading to the nearest supermarket.

There’s certainly no need to panic buy or rush to get seafood, SFA urged.

They also advised Singaporeans to buy only what they need, and be flexible in our choices of food groups and sources.

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On their part, they’ll also try to minimise any food supply disruptions.

Temporary disruptions to supply of chilled seafood: Grace Fu

However, those who prefer to buy their seafood chilled may wish to take note: There may be temporary disruptions to the supply of chilled seafood due to Jurong Fishery Port’s closure.

That’s what Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said in a Facebook post on Sunday (18 Jul).

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For those who don’t mind frozen seafood, those options remain available, she added.

She also advised Singaporeans to be more flexible in their food choices.

Alternative supplies will be ramped up: Grace Fu

Ms Fu also said that Singapore’s alternative supplies will be ramped up to meet demand.

In fact, she visited NTUC FairPrice’s Fresh Food Distribution Centre to see how they’re going to increase the supply of seafood in their outlets.

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Supermarkets can act as a substitute for wet markets, and they’ve increased their stocks to fulfill this function, The Straits Times quoted her as saying.

Also, though the Jurong Fishery Port is out of commission for now, the Senoko Fishery Port has been activated.

Major wholesalers have also been asked to boost their purchases so that they can continue providing seafood to consumers.

A good chance to be flexible

The closure of many seafood stalls in wet markets will be disheartening to those accustomed to doing their marketing there.

But it’s a necessary action to take to contain the spread of Covid-19.

As retailers take steps to ensure supplies, we should rest assured that this will be only a temporary disruption.

In the meantime, it’s a good chance to try out other types of food from different sources.

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Featured image adapted from Facebook.