Land Transport Authority of Singapore: 120 bus drivers from seven interchanges infected with Covid-19 | Singapore

The number of infected bus drivers in Covid-19 clusters ranges from nine at Clementi Bus Interchange to 33 at Toa Payoh Bus Interchange. — picture TODAY

SINGAPORE, Aug 31 – A total of 120 bus drivers have been infected with Covid-19 at the seven bus interchanges where clusters of coronavirus have been discovered.

That’s out of a total of 9,500 bus drivers here, meaning around 1.2% of bus drivers have contracted the infection so far.

These figures were provided by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a statement issued yesterday in response to TODAY’s questions.

The number of infected drivers may change following the overnight update from the Ministry of Health (MOH) on the Covid-19 situation here.

On Sunday, seven bus interchanges across Singapore were identified as active coronavirus clusters, with a total of 174 cases.

The affected interchanges are located at Bishan, Boon Lay, Clementi, Jurong East, Punggol, Sengkang and Toa Payoh.

The number of Covid-19 cases among bus drivers at each interchange is:

  • Bishan bus interchange — 23 cases
  • Sengkang Bus Interchange — 14 cases
  • Punggol bus interchange — 13 cases
  • Toa Payoh bus interchange – 33 cases
  • Clementi bus interchange – nine cases
  • Jurong East Bus Interchange – 15 cases
  • Boon Lay bus interchange — 13 cases

In its response, LTA said all but four of the infected bus drivers were fully vaccinated.

Most of them had no symptoms or had only mild symptoms of the disease.

Many cases were detected and isolated early through proactive regular testing or surveillance testing by the Health Ministry, LTA said.

The authority added that it was working with public transport operators to minimize the impact the clusters have on bus operations.

Operators will take extra precautions for mask activities for workers in light of the recent outbreak, he said.

This includes ensuring that workers take their meal breaks and smoke alone, even if they are fully vaccinated.

LTA said deep cleaning and disinfection is carried out at each location, as well as all affected buses and common facilities, once an interchange is discovered as an active cluster.

“This is in addition to the enhanced cleaning regime that operators have implemented since last year.”

To date, more than 95% of frontline public transport workers have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while more than 99% have received their first dose of the vaccine, he said.

He added that he would continue to work with public transport operators to encourage his workers to get vaccinated.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and will work with public transport operators to make adjustments if necessary.”

In response to TODAY’s questions, transport operator Tower Transit said the 14 bus drivers working at the Jurong East bus interchange who tested positive for Covid-19 were fully vaccinated and had symptoms slight or none.

He added that all other exchanger staff have since undergone a polymerase chain reaction test and in future will be required to take a rapid antigen test every seven days.

As the main operator, Tower Transit carried out a deep cleaning and disinfection of the Jurong East bus interchange.

For example, high touchpoints are now disinfected every hour, instead of every two hours. The toilets will also be cleaned every two hours, although it was not specified what the previous frequency was.

“Our buses were also deep cleaned in addition to our ongoing twice-daily disinfection program,” he said.

Additional measures taken include a ban on all meals in the exchanger canteen, except for members of staff – and even then they can only do so individually.

The company “will continue to closely monitor the situation at Jurong East Bus Interchange” and other locations where it operates, it added. – TODAY

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