SINGAPORE - Tighter measures will be implemented to manage access to wet markets where Covid-19 cases were recently detected among stallholders and stall assistants.
From Monday (July 19), interim fencing will be put up at the markets by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and town councils, and mandatory SafeEntry check-in requirements will be enforced, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Sunday.
The added access control will better enable contact tracing to ring-fence cases, MOH said.
Similar access controls had already been implemented at another 13 markets since the circuit breaker period last year, the MOH said.
Customers are not allowed to enter once the number of people in each market reaches the stipulated allowable capacity.
MOH said: "This is to avoid overcrowding and ensure that effective safe distancing and enforcement can be carried out to ensure everyone's safety."
Over the weekend, clusters have been uncovered at two markets - Hong Lim Market & Food Centre and Chong Boon Market & Food Centre.
MOH said these clusters were likely seeded by fishmongers and stallholders who visited the Jurong Fishery Port to collect their stock to sell at these markets and food centres.
The cluster at the port stands at 63 cases as at noon on Sunday.
Cases have also been detected at Amoy Street Food Centre and Chong Pang Market & Food Centre, as well as Whampoa Wet Market, Telok Blangah Crescent Block 11, Taman Jurong Market, Redhill Market, Geylang Serai Malay Market, Geylang Bahru Market, 527 Ang Mo Kio Market, 726 West Coast Wet Market, and Bukit Timah Wet Market.
MOH said the porous nature of wet markets makes contact tracing and isolation less straightforward.
"We are particularly concerned that these wet markets serve a range of customers, including the vulnerable elderly, some of whom remain unvaccinated. They might be infected, and could suffer severe symptoms."
MOH further urged all unvaccinated individuals, especially the elderly, to stay at home as much as possible over the next few weeks.
It said: "We urge members of the public to reach out to your elderly relatives or neighbours who remain unvaccinated to see what assistance they may require, for example, to buy daily necessities.
"With the upcoming (Hari Raya Haji) public holiday on July 20, individuals should continue to limit their overall number of social gatherings to not more than two per day, whether it is to another household, or to meet with friends and family members in a public place."
Even those who are vaccinated but have unvaccinated elderly family members at home should avoid crowded places or extensive social interactions, MOH added.
This is because vaccinated persons may still get infected with the virus and inadvertently bring the virus home to seniors.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.