'No evidence' commuters caught Covid-19 from bus interchange clusters: Iswaran

Source of cases unknown.

Low Jia Ying | September 03, 2021, 01:24 PM

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There is no evidence that commuters are catching Covid-19 from clusters in bus interchanges, Transport Minister S Iswaran said on Friday, Sep. 3.

"The experts have said that there is no evidence of any spread to commuters but we will continue to make sure we observe all the safeguards that have been put in place," Iswaran said to the media on the sidelines of Land Transport Industry Day in Bedok as reported by The Straits Times and CNA.

"If there is a need to do more, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will work with public transport operators to do so," he added during his visit to the LTA office.

Iswaran said the priority is for transport workers and commuters to be safe, and that the public transport system is not disrupted.

The bus depot clusters grew to 341 cases on Sep. 2.

Out of a total of 314 cases reported as of Sep. 1, 284 are bus drivers and service staff at bus interchanges.

The rest are their household contacts and members of the public.

Unclear how drivers infected

Iswaran also said medical experts are still studying the issue of how drivers could have been infected, but one possibility is that the spread resulted from being in the same workplace.

"It's plausible that they may have contracted from the community, but at the same time, it is also the case that there could have been some spread at the workplace because of the fact that they come together for certain types of activities," Iswaran added.

However, there is currently no major impact on bus services.

Tightened measures have been put in place to cover more than 11,000 front-line staff in the bus sector in the wake of growing Covid-19 clusters at eight public bus interchanges.

These interchanges are those at Toa Payoh, Boon Lay, Punggol, Jurong East, Bishan, Sengkang, Tampines and Clementi.

Bus drivers and staff manning service counters in bus interchanges will now have to undergo routine testing at least once a week from Thursday.

Previously, antigen rapid tests (ART) were conducted mostly on an ad hoc basis at bus interchanges on a portion of staff.

If a positive case surfaced, all staff at a particular interchange were then required to take ARTs.

Those who tested positive or whose results were inconclusive were sent for further polymerase chain reaction swabs.

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Top photos via S Iswaran/FB and Takuya Yamada/Google Maps