Singapore—Traces of Covid-19 have been found in the waste water of a hostel block at the National University of Singapore (NUS), resulting in the need for residents of the hostel to be tested for the infection.
The director of the university’s office of safety, health and environment, Dr Peck Thian Guan, said that on Saturday (Mar 20), low levels of Covid-19 viral ribonucleic acid (RNA) were discovered in a sample from an inspection chamber connected to the bathrooms at UTown Residence North Tower, straitstimes.com (ST) reports.
“The swab test has to be performed swiftly to identify whether there are other residents who may be or had been infected with Covid-19.
This is so that we can provide immediate medical care and support, while taking the necessary steps to cut the transmission of Covid-19,” ST quotes him as saying.
A waste-water surveillance programme was implemented in December last year in all the NUS hostels to ensure that the possible infections would be found in a “safe, effective and non-intrusive way”, according to Dr Peck.
He made these remarks in a circular released on Monday (Mar 22).
The swabbing of residents will begin on Tuesday, when stations will be set up at UTown Residence.
Dr Peck added that, as a precautionary step, the Ministry of Health has made swab tests for all residents from the affected apartments compulsory.
It is unclear whether everyone from UTown Residence North Tower will be tested or only those from the affected apartments.
The residents from the affected apartments have also been told to isolate themselves for the time being, as well as limit contact with other people while waiting for their swab test results.
Those who are not from the affected apartments have been informed they need to keep away from that part of the hostel, the swabbing stations, and their surroundings.
They also need to declare their temperature via uNivUS, the NUS app, and monitor their health.
Dr Peck asked the community to stay calm and follow the precautionary steps outlined in the circular, and not spread “unverified information.”
Updates on the swab results, which could take around two to three days, will also be released.
A maximum of 1,700 people can live at UTown Residence, which is designated for both single and married graduate students.
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