Cluster linked to Punggol Primary School grows to 12
Mandatory swabbing for pupils, staff; school moves to home-based learning until Aug 6
She was a bundle of nerves when informed that her sons, who are Primary 3 and 6 pupils in Punggol Primary School, would have to undergo swab tests after several staff and pupils at the school had tested positive for Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) identified a new cluster linked to a cleaner at Punggol Primary School on Tuesday.
The cluster grew to 12 cases as at yesterday.
Madam Eva Wang, 38, told The New Paper: "I was already worried about my sons before I heard about the cluster because they have yet to be vaccinated. Now that there is a cluster, I am even more concerned."
Madam Wang, a freelance worker in sales, said her eldest son is ineligible for vaccination as he has yet to turn 12.
He was given a time slot to undergo a swab test later today, while her youngest son was swabbed yesterday.
In response to queries from TNP, the Education Ministry (MOE) said two contract cleaners and one non-teaching staff from Punggol Primary School, who were not in close contact with pupils and teachers, have tested positive for Covid-19.
"Separately, one teacher and two pupils have also tested positive. The teacher is not a close contact of the pupils. Investigations are under way to see if the cases are linked," added the MOE spokesman.
All close contacts of confirmed cases have been placed under quarantine order (QO) or leave of absence, pending MOH's issuance of the QO.
Mandatory swab tests for all pupils and staff took place at the school yesterday and will continue today as part of efforts to safeguard them and prevent any possible spread to the community, said MOE.
The Education Ministry added that the school had been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before it was reopened for the swab tests.
Home-based learning for all pupils is in place until Aug 6.
When TNP visited Punggol Primary School yesterday afternoon, a handful of parents were with their children as they streamed in for the swab tests.
A parent, who wanted to be known only as Mr Zul, said he saw the letter from the school on late Wednesday night and had to take leave from work to take his Primary 4 daughter to school.
"The cluster is concerning because I have another young child at home who is just five years old," Mr Zul added.
Other parents said that while they were worried, they were glad precautionary measures such as the mandatory swab tests and disinfecting of premises have been put in place.
Mr Ismail, a 56-year-old nurse, had just ended work and was taking his Primary 1 son for the swab test.
"With the number of community cases these days, I guess such clusters are unavoidable," he said. "This cluster may be worrying but it is good that the school was quick to react in letting us know that our children need to be swabbed."