Cleaning of public spaces stepped up in coronavirus fight, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Cleaning of public spaces stepped up in coronavirus fight

This article is more than 12 months old

Precautions include cleaning of lift buttons, railings and other areas with disinfectant

Town councils have stepped up cleaning of public areas in a bid to prevent widespread transmission of the coronavirus that originated in Wuhan.

Lift buttons are being cleaned twice a day with disinfectant, and so are other high-contact areas such as railings and letter boxes.

Playgrounds, fitness corners and benches are being cleaned once a day.

The National Environment Agency (NEA) issued an advisory on heightened sanitation and hygiene measures to all town councils on Jan 29.

Similar advisories have also been issued for other areas including commercial premises, food establishments and hawker centres.

Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said yesterday that the current situation warranted ramping up hygiene regimens, and urged the public not to be swayed by fears that they should avoid areas visited by infected people.

"Once we know that there is a case, NEA will supervise the owners of the premises to make sure the place is properly disinfected and it is safe for the public to go to," he said.

So far, 28 confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported in Singapore.

Mr Masagos was speaking to reporters at a Housing Board estate in Tampines West, after he inspected workers cleaning lift buttons, railings and playground equipment.

Previously, these areas were cleaned only with soap and water.

The estate's cleaners have also been told to wear gloves and sanitise their hands after finishing their work.


"Because of this current situation it is perhaps more prudent, and also for public assurance, that we step up this cleaning. We think we have to keep this up until such time that MOH gives us the clear... This is one of the ways to prevent community spread," said Mr Masagos.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo and National Trades Union Congress secretary-general Ng Chee Meng also visited the Chinatown Street Market yesterday to inspect measures being taken to keep the shops and streets there clean.

Mrs Teo said heightened precautions were needed to keep workplaces safe as businesses continue operating.

"Employers can play a part by helping employees familiarise themselves with what they need to do if a customer looks unwell and is coughing or sneezing, such as giving them a friendly reminder to see a doctor," she said.

Workers should also be encouraged to seek prompt medical attention if they felt unwell.

Some business owners, such as souvenir shop owner Zhao Hongmin, have told workers to mop the floor and clean counter tops with disinfectant more frequently.

"I've also reminded workers to wash their hands after attending to each customer and not to stand too close to a customer when speaking to them," said Mrs Zhao, who owns Orchid Chopsticks.

The increased hygiene precautions have left some residents like retiree Simon Zhao, 72, with greater peace of mind.

"Especially for us older folk, our health is not so good so we feel safer with this," said the long-time Tampines resident.

Mr Masagos stressed yesterday that members of the public need to play their part in the fight against the virus.

"What it leaves us to do now is to step up our own hygiene habits.

"Let's be a First World people and keep this up not only for the purposes of the crisis, but also to make sure that Singapore is the kind of place where everyone practises good hygiene habits," he said.