Jurong Fishery Port opens for business after two-week closure
Most fishmongers and tenants back at work last night, but some still serving quarantine
The wholesale market at Jurong Fishery Port (JFP), epicentre of the largest active Covid-19 cluster here, reopened for business last night after a two-week closure.
Enhanced safe management measures were strictly enforced as workers and lorries carrying large plastic boxes and bins made their way in when The Straits Times visited at 8.30pm.
One worker found himself locked out as he did not have an orange band that would allow entry into the premises.
Mr Yee Yong En, a 23-year-old Malaysian, told ST that he had been waiting outside the security gate for an hour. He works as an assistant at a market stall in JFP that sells fish such as stingray, grouper and mackerel.
"Security is now tighter (at JFP). My boss told me to wait for him to issue the orange band as without it, I cannot enter," he said in Malay.
He was among the many workers from the fishery port quarantined in hotels for the past two weeks.
More than 1,000 Covid-19 cases have been linked to JFP as at yesterday.
Mr Yee, 23, showed ST an electronic letter from the Ministry of Health on his mobile phone that declared him Covid-19-free.
JPF reopened last Saturday after two rounds of deep cleaning of the entire site, the Singapore Food Agency said in a Facebook post on Sunday.
The port handles roughly 30 per cent of the country's seafood imports, including those that arrive by land and air. It has more than 100 merchants and attracts up to 3,000 customers daily.
Most workers, fishmongers and tenants would have been expected to return to work last night, said Mr Ang Jwee Herng, president of the Singapore Fish Merchants' General Association.
He added: "The tenants and workers told me they will be more careful with following the measures, such as wearing their masks properly and not talking while smoking, to prevent another cluster at the port.
"Though the stricter measures are inconvenient, they understand the importance of sticking with them as there are a lot of people at the port each day and they want to be able to continue business."
Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said in Parliament yesterday that the Jurong Fishery Port outbreak was likely to have been caused by workers mingling and not wearing masks.
The new measures require port workers to keep their distance from foreign crew as they unload the goods. They can pick up the goods only after the crew members leave the unloading area.
All workers must also follow a hand sanitation regimen and wear masks and gloves when picking up the goods.
One wholesale fish seller who did not return to work yesterday was Mr Goh Thiam Chwee, 58. The managing director of Kah Huat Song Kee Fish Agent has a few days left in quarantine.
Mr Goh, who is also honorary secretary of the Singapore Fish Merchants' General Association, told ST: "It was a 100 per cent loss for me as I couldn't sell fish and still had to pay my workers' salaries and rent.
"Each day, I can sell about a tonne of seafood. In total, we lost out on 10 tonnes of seafood during the closure."