The market became a cluster area for COVID-19 cases
Pasir Panjang Wholesale Centre (PPWC) reopened on Thursday with stronger measures for workers in place, following a three-day closure after it was classified as a COVID-19 cluster due to a high number of infections. Only tenants and workers with a negative Polymerase Chain Reaction test are allowed to enter the premises, according to the Singapore Food Agency (SFA). The tests were conducted days prior to the reopening.
Permitted entrants are also required to wear coloured wristbands based on the sector they are working in. The number of workers allowed to access the coldroom sector will also be capped, with employees required to get tested twice a week and present their negative results to the sector. For all workers at the PPWC, rostered routine testing will be increased from a 14-day regime to a seven-day regime, added the SFA, while on-arrival testing will continue for trade visitors.
"We urge all tenants, workers, and traders to adhere to the measures while at PPWC," said the SFA in a statement, adding that "collective responsibility is the key to keep everyone safe.
"We thank the industry for working with us to implement SMMs since the onset of the pandemic, as well as during this period to identify areas for tightened SMMs," said Melvin Chow, senior director of SFA's Food Infrastructure Development & Management Division.
"We will continue to monitor the operations at ppwc and work with stakeholders to resolve any teething issues and further refine the enhanced measures if necessary to the unique working conditions of PPWC," he added.
The PPWC was shuttered since Monday after the Ministry of Health detected a growing number of cases in the area, with 127 infections tallied as of Wednesday, according to a report from The Straits Times. The temporary closure prompted fears of fruits and vegetable shortage in other areas, with Minister for Sustainability and Environment Grace Fu urging the public to avoid panic buying.
"I urge everyone not to rush out to buy fruits and vegetables during this period. Please buy only what you need so that there is ample supply for everyone," Fu said on Facebook.