Social distancing ambassadors also fighting dengue
The volunteers look out for areas where mosquitoes breed and educate residents on anti-dengue measures
They started out as safe distancing ambassadors but they noticed many residents in Stirling Road constantly scratching their arms and legs.
This was because of mosquito bites and it worried the ambassadors from Queenstown HeartSavers, an interest group formed by volunteers at the Queenstown Community Emergency and Engagement Committee.
They then realised they were fighting not one disease but two - Covid-19 and dengue.
So now the volunteers, besides telling residents to keep a safe distance at void decks, coffee shops and convenience stores, also look around the estate for mosquito-breeding areas and educate residents on anti-dengue measures.
Last Thursday, The New Paper followed nine volunteers from 5pm to 8pm as they patrolled an area near the Queenstown Stirling View Zone Resident's Committee Centre.
Madam Florence Yong, 55, a volunteer for over six years, said: "As we approached residents to tell them about social distancing, we noticed they would be scratching their arms and legs while talking to us."
On their patrols during circuit breaker, the volunteers saw pools of stagnant water in drains and in discarded litter.
Madam Yong, one of 35 volunteers from Queenstown Heartsavers, also saw several boys in the area with visible mosquito bites on their arms and legs.
Singapore is now in its peak dengue season with more than 11,100 people infected and at least 12 dead.
Queenstown HeartSavers' team leader Randy Tan, 33, an enlistment officer with the Ministry of Defence, said that as some in the group also volunteered for the Community Emergency Response Team, they had been trained by the National Environment Agency in an anti-dengue programme.
And they have used emergency funds allocated by the People's Association to buy insecticide.
The team distributes pamphlets on dengue prevention and bottles of mosquito repellent. They also make use of the insecticide BTI when they come across any breeding grounds.
To protect themselves from the virus, the volunteers are equipped with masks and hand sanitisers.
There have been nearly 41,000 Covid-19 cases here so far, but the team has seen about a 50 per cent decrease in the number of people caught without masks in the area since the start of the circuit breaker in April.
The volunteers know it is challenging to fight two diseases at the same time.
Madam Yong said: "We had to step up our efforts to tackle both dengue and Covid-19 because many of the residents here are elderly.
"They are part of a vulnerable group so we must protect them and the rest of the community as well."