Covid-19 testing to be offered to more than 45,000 stallholders, cleaners and food delivery riders

SINGAPORE – Covid-19 testing will be offered to more than 45,000 stallholders and their assistants, cleaners and food delivery personnel from now till the end of the year as part of efforts to contain cryptic cases in the community.

The one-off test will be conducted for individuals working at 110 hawker centres and markets and more than 1,120 coffee shops, as well as food delivery personnel working in those places.

Testing is voluntary, but the workers are strongly encouraged to get tested to protect themselves and their loved ones, said the National Environment Agency (NEA), Singapore Food Agency (SFA), and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) on Thursday (Oct 15).

Starting on Thursday, more than 2,200 stallholders, stall assistants and cleaners working at 11 hawker centres and markets, and 82 coffee shops in Ang Mo Kio GRC, Kebun Baru and Yio Chu Kang, as well as food delivery riders working in those areas, will be tested.

The tests will be conducted till Friday at screening centres set up near the hawker centres and markets.

On Friday, there will be five screening centres set up in the Ang Mo Kio area, including Ang Mo Kio Central Stage and the void deck of Blk 214 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3. The screening centres will run from 10am to 4pm.

Officers from NEA and SFA, and grassroots leaders, as well as hawkers’ and merchants’ associations have started to reach out to the target groups in those areas since Oct 10. ESG has also informed food delivery companies about the testing exercise.

This wider roll-out of testing follows a pilot swab-testing initiative conducted at some hawker centres, markets and coffee shops in Marine Parade last month.

More than 750 stallholders, stall assistants, cleaners and delivery riders took the test, and nobody tested positive.

Beyond Ang Mo Kio town, NEA is in discussions with town councils, and hawkers’ and merchants’ associations in other parts of Singapore to identify suitable sites, dates and timings for testing.

The plan is to cover the remaining hawker centres, markets and coffee shops before the end of the year, said the three government agencies.

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Feedback from those who took the test in Marine Parade will be considered for the wider testing.

These include scheduling the tests on weekdays, when the workers will be less busy, rather than weekends. The screening centres will also be set up close to each hawker centre and market where possible for the workers’ convenience.

The screening centres will also have crowd control, safe distancing and hygiene measures in place.

Information on the test schedules and locations of the upcoming screening centres will be provided when ready. The employees will be notified in advance by the three agencies, and their respective hawkers’ and merchants’ associations, as well as food delivery companies on when and where they can be tested.

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More than 10,000 taxi and private-hire car drivers also participated in the voluntary testing scheme last month, all testing negative.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in a virtual media conference on Sept 23 that the Government will consider expanding the scheme to other groups, including university students in hostels.

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