The Multi-Ministry Taskforce (MTF) has quarantined 2,480 staff and patrons in relation to the KTV cluster, health minister Ong Ye Kung announced at a virtual press conference on July 16, 2021.
As of July 16, the cluster has seen 120 confirmed Covid-19 cases.
These individuals were detected from SafeEntry and TraceTogether (TT) data, and make up the first of four rings in the outbreak.
The 2,000 odd people will also be tested multiple times during their quarantine to ensure that they are not incubating the virus.
The second ring consists of other staff and patrons who have slipped through the SafeEntry and TT systems, as data gathering is “not likely” to be comprehensive for these joints, Ong added.
“So what we have done over the past few days is to encourage patrons especially, who have visited these joints or come into contact with the social hostesses in any setting to please come forward and get themselves tested.”
The call started three days ago on July 13, where 160 came forward and 17 tested positive.
On July 14, 501 were tested, and eight turned out positive.
On July 15, 1003 came forward, and zero tested positive.
In total, 1,664 were tested, and 25 were positive.
While Ong believes that the risk for members of this ring is “contained,” the worry is in the secondary infections — in other words, the people that these cases have come into contact with before they got themselves tested.
Additionally, those who have tested negative are not entirely out of the woods yet, as there is an incubation period, the health minister warned.
These individuals should continue monitor their health and minimise contact with others.
Members of the public who have been/will be issued a health risk warning make up the third ring.
There are about 2,000 people in this ring, who were identified via TraceTogether to have come into contact with the confirmed cases.
Those who have been issued the warning are legally required to get themselves tested at a designated testing centres.
“So I want to clarify, in case they are worried, or their families are worried, is that these individuals, we are not saying that they went to the KTV lounges. But you have come into contact with a confirmed case, could have been anywhere, and picked up by our data. “
The fourth and final ring are the people who have been issued a health risk alert.
There are several thousand people in this ring, or even more than 10,000, Ong revealed.
These are members of the public who have visited malls or premises where the KTV lounges are located, but have not come into contact with a confirmed case or visited the joints themselves.
Those in the fourth ring are not legally obligated to get tested, but are advised to monitor their health closely and minimise interactions with others.
The challenge with the KTV cluster
Another point the health ministry brought up was the difficulty in mounting a special operation in rooting out the cases, as there is no geographical pinpoint — a challenge specific to the cluster.
Unlike past clusters, where the ministry has information on the tenants and residents in the places of transmission, potential cases linked to the KTV could have been to anywhere.
“But nevertheless, as you can see the four rings we are doing, MOH is doing whatever we can to aggressively trace and test them. Notwithstanding that, we should expect to see many more cases emerging in the coming days.”
Top image by One Exclusive, MCI via Ong Ye Kung’s Facebook page