Over 10 elderly people seen gathering at Yishun HDB block without wearing their masks properly

Safe distancing ambassadors found it difficult to stop them, a retail shop owner told the Chinese paper.

Zhangxin Zheng | May 28, 2021, 01:26 PM

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A number of elderly people have reportedly been gathering at the ground level of a HDB block in Yishun during the Phase 2 Heightened Alert period.

Elderly people gathering near Yishun Blk 824

The Chinese evening paper Shin Min Daily News (Shin Min) was alerted by a tip-off and went down to speak to some of the elderly people on May 25 evening.

Shin Min found that there were over 10 elderly men and women sitting around in small groups near Blk 824 Yishun Street 81.

They were seen chatting, eating, drinking and smoking that night. At one point, the reporter observed that the group size increased to close to 20.

A retail shop owner told Shin Min that safe distancing ambassadors were unable to stop them from gathering.

One 68-year-old told the reporter that he's not afraid of Covid-19 as he's been fully vaccinated. He added that he will keep a safe distance from others while hanging out at the ground floor.

Another elderly man told the reporter that it's too hot to stay at home so he came down to the ground level.

Markers to ensure social distancing at these areas

Nee Soon GRC Member of Parliament Carrie Tan responded on Facebook that the elderly residents are having difficulties to cope with the tightened restrictions.

As they can't hang out at the coffeeshops, their mental health and well being are affected by the loss of their only recreation and social connection.

Markers have been placed at the areas where the elderly people sit around to create better social distancing.

Tan said that it is a delicate balance between enforcement and taking care of the elderly residents' social needs.

Halfway through the Heightened Alert period

Singapore is now halfway through the Heightened Alert period, where dine-in at restaurants is not permitted, among other stricter restrictions.

Reducing social gatherings is one main way to curb the transmission of virus within the community, especially with the presence of transmissible B.1.617 variant.

There is also "growing evidence" that the new Covid-19 variants can spread through aerosolised particles.

Face masks are important to prevent virus transmission because they offer "source control", through preventing the wearer’s respiratory droplets from travelling into the air and onto other people.

This is why the government has urged Singaporeans to wear a good mask when they have to head out for necessary errands, and to wear their masks properly.

Those who are caught not wearing a mask can be fined up to S$10,000, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.

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Top image by Shin Min Daily News