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

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

This is out of a total of 9,500 bus drivers here, meaning that about 1.2 per cent of bus drivers have come down with the infection so far.

These numbers were provided by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in a statement yesterday in response to queries from TODAY.

The number of drivers infected may change after the nightly update by the Ministry of Health (MOH) on the Covid-19 situation here.

As of Sunday, seven bus interchanges across Singapore have been identified as active coronavirus clusters, with a combined 174 cases.

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

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

  • 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 reply, LTA said that all but four of the infected bus drivers were fully vaccinated.

Most of them either did not show any symptoms or showed only mild symptoms of the disease.

Many of the cases were picked up and isolated early as a result of proactive regular testing or surveillance testing by MOH, LTA said.

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

Operators will be taking extra precautions for mask-off activities for workers in light of the recent outbreak, it said.

This includes ensuring that workers take their breaks for meals and smoking alone, even if they are fully vaccinated.

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

“This is in addition to the stepped-up cleaning regime that operators have put in place since last year.”

To date, more than 95 per cent of front-line public transport workers have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, while more than 99 per cent have received their first dose of the vaccine, it said.

It added that would continue to work with public transport operators to encourage its workers to get their shots.

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

In response to TODAY’s queries, transport operator Tower Transit said that all 14 of its bus drivers working at the Jurong East Bus Interchange who tested positive for Covid-19 were fully vaccinated and exhibited either mild or no symptoms.

It added that all other staff members at the interchange have since undergone a polymerase chain reaction test and, moving forward, will have to take an antigen rapid test every seven days.

As the anchor operator there, Tower Transit has conducted a deep-clean and disinfection of Jurong East Bus Interchange.

For instance, high-touch points are now disinfected every hour, instead of every two hours. Toilets will also be cleaned every two hours, though it did not state what the previous frequency was.

“Our buses have also been given a deep clean on top of our ongoing twice-a-day disinfection regimen,” it said.

Extra measures undertaken include disallowing any dining at the interchange’s canteen, except for staff members — and even then, they may do so only individually.

The company will “continue to keep a close watch on the situation at Jurong East Bus Interchange” and in other locations where it operates, it added. — TODAY

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