In the past week, Singapore has seen a worrying surge of Covid-19 cases.
One of the current largest active clusters is at Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. Located about 2km away is the Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market.
On Wednesday (8 Sep), several Covid-19 cases have reportedly been found at the market.
Although authorities have not instructed vendors to close, they have taken it upon themselves to shutter for 2 weeks since last Friday (3 Sep).
According to Lianhe Zaobao, multiple vendors at Toa Payoh East Wholesale Vegetable Market have contracted Covid-19.
Last week, vendors were notified by the Singapore Food Authority (SFA) of several confirmed cases at the market.
Authorities have not ordered the closure of the market as of now. But erring on the side of caution, vendors then decided to shut the market and suspend business for 2 weeks since 3 Sep.
Located at Block 1003 Toa Payoh East, Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market is unique for being a roadside market operating in the open.
However, due to this, SafeEntry is not possible at the market, making transmissions harder to track.
Vendors shared with Lianhe Zaobao that they may delay the market’s reopening if the situation does not improve.
There are about 10 vegetable stalls at the market that open from about 11pm to 6am.
With a long history of over 40 years, the market is one of the last few roadside markets where vendors would place boxes of vegetables on the roads for display.
Vendors import directly from Malaysia, allowing them to sell their vegetables cheaper than other locations.
This makes the market a popular choice amongst hawkers and wet market merchants.
A wholesaler also told Lianhe Zaobao that more than 10 people from the market had been confirmed with Covid-19.
However, the source of transmissions is currently not known.
According to the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) latest report on 7 Sep, the Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market has not been detected as a cluster.
However, responding to Lianhe Zaobao‘s queries, Singapore Food Agency (SFA) confirmed that they detected cases at the market.
The agency is currently working with vendors and monitoring the situation.
Toa Payoh East Vegetable Market does not serve many customers, and SFA assured that the market’s closure would not disrupt Singapore’s food supply.
The overall situation remains stable thanks to Singapore’s multi-pronged approach of importing from multiple sources.
Back in June, there was a widespread transmission of Covid-19 at markets and hawker centres.
A recent study from the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) found that one possible factor is the touching of fruits and vegetables at markets, reported The Straits Times (ST).
With this in mind, we’re glad the Toa Payoh vendors are taking extra precautions to ensure their own and the public’s safety by closing.
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Featured image adapted from 8World.
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