Home News Pre-CNY Chinatown crowds spark fears of Covid spread

Pre-CNY Chinatown crowds spark fears of Covid spread

Shoppers in Chinatown seemed oblivious to the risk, feeling like their masks would be enough to protect them




- Advertisement -

Singapore—Chinatown was so congested on Saturday (Jan 30), The New Paper (TNP) reported, that social distancing was impossible.

This has given rise to fears of a Covid-19 super spreader event, despite the low number of community cases in Singapore.

The presence of Covid-19, in fact, has caused the cancellation of Chinatown’s Chinese New Year bazaar, with many vendors deciding to go online and do digital events instead.

But old habits, as they say, die hard.

- Advertisement -

TNP reported large crowds at Trengganu Street, Temple Street and Pagoda Street, although everyone was wearing a mask.

Still, the sheer volume of people in the stores and streets of Chinatown meant people were standing very close together.

Moreover, TNP reported that only one store was seen implementing the protocol for SafeEntry, which would enable contact tracing in the event that someone tests positive for Covid-19.

The report quotes Dr Leong Hoe Nam, an infectious disease specialist as saying, ”Too many people. Exactly what the virus would want. I expected it. We have Covid fatigue.”

What is more worrisome is that some people among the crowds in Chinatown did not seen concerned, feeling like their masks would be enough to protect them.

And even though the bazaar had been cancelled as early as November of last year, people flocked to Chinatown nevertheless.

Dr Leong warned that a super spreader event could happen.

“If we continue like this, a super spreading event will occur. What made us safe previously may not be good enough for the next lap.”

New strains of the infection are proving to have higher transmission rates, and what may have worked to protect people in the past, may not work anymore.

Some health professionals have even recommended double masking to prevent the spread of the more transmissible strains.

Last week, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said that this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations will need to be pared down so that no new infection clusters start.

At a visit to the Ang Mo Kio Polyclinic on the first day of Covid-19 vaccinations for senior citizens, he said that he will be celebrating Chinese New Year “with eight visitors — not more — from the family.”

Festivities could lead to a super-spreader event, which is why additional curbs have been set, he added.

“Chinese New Year, just like … other festivals, (it involves) people visiting one another in big numbers. You enjoy yourself, you have food, you have drinks, you gamble together. And each time we do that, there is a risk.”

A few dozen new infection clusters could send the country back into a Circuit Breaker scenario, which the Prime Minister called “a very high and disruptive cost for all of us in Singapore to pay”.

Therefore, he urged Singaporeans to exercise restraint and celebrate Chinese New Year in a more low-key manner this year, so that next year, bigger celebrations may resume.


Read also: PM Lee urges Singaporeans to celebrate CNY in keeping with restrictions

PM Lee urges Singaporeans to celebrate CNY in keeping with restrictions

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg 

- Advertisement -

JTC issues stop-work order on contractor that ‘erroneously’ cleared Kranji woodlands

Singapore – The contractor that “erroneously” cleared a forested area at Kranji has announced it has been issued a stop-work order by JTC and is assisting the developer with investigations on the issue. On Feb 16, state-owned industrial property developer JTC responded...

Clementi, Dover, Kranji: Singapore’s grand conservation plan is to plant trees and destroy forests

Yes, we love to plant trees. Since Lee Kuan Yew started the whole ritual, at least 10,000 saplings are planted every year since 1963 as part of the Tree Planting campaign. Impressive indeed. Singapore Clean and Green. At the same time,...

Ex-UOB vice-president charged with mishandling over S$5.4 million

Singapore—Sixty-five-year-old Ling Shek Lun, who used to be a  vice-president at UOB, has been charged with mishandling millions of dollars, reported straitstimes.com (ST) on Friday (Feb 19). Ling, a Singaporean who was charged in district court on Feb 10, faces two charges...

Send in your scoop to news@theindependent.sg