Close contact likely a key factor in Bukit Merah View COVID cluster: MOH official

·Assistant News Editor
·1-min read

SINGAPORE — While it is not possible to pin down specific transmission modes in the Bukit Merah View COVID-19 cluster, it is "very likely" that close contact amongst tenants, stallholders and staff working at the market and food center was one of the key factors, said a senior Ministry of Health (MOH) official on Friday (18 June).

"There could have been also an element of fomite transmission through the use of common facilities, including the toilets," said MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak, who was speaking at a virtual media briefing by the multi-ministry taskforce on COVID-19.

Fomites are everyday objects that can carry and spread diseases if they come into contact with infectious agents such as viruses. 

As of Thursday, the 115 Bukit Merah View Market and Hawker Centre cluster numbered some 56 people, of whom 21 are tenants, stallholders or staff. Thirteen are visitors to the market or food centre, while the remainder are close contacts who did not directly visit either venue. 

Associate Professor Mak noted that a number of the stalls at the food center are very popular lunch and dinner destinations. "Some of the cases that we have interviewed have reported queuing up for at least 30 minutes, which would ordinarily be considered a significant period of close contact these visitors were close together."

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