This mass screening, scheduled from 11 to 15 Jan, aims to detect any unnoticed active TB cases and prevent further transmission.
Screening is mostly voluntary, with mandatory participation for frequent visitors to Jalan Bukit Merah, including employees of certain businesses.
The Ministry of Health (MOH) has identified ten recent active TB cases.
One of these individuals works at the nearby ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre, while six are regular visitors there.
Workers at the ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre, among others, are receiving free screening.
However, this situation has significantly impacted the market, as the public fears contracting TB simply by dining there.
This concern was noted by Ministers Grace Fu and Ong Ye Kung in Facebook posts on 12 and 14 Jan, respectively.
Supporting Hawkers at ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre
On 12 Jan, Sustainability and the Environment Minister Grace Fu, accompanied by Amy Khor and Baey Yam Keng, visited the ABC Brickworks Market and Food Centre.
This visit, shared by Amy Khor, who has lived behind the centre, aimed to support the hawkers affected by slow business.
Amy Khor also highlighted the centre’s recent improvements, such as brighter lighting, and empathised with the food centre workers, acknowledging their continuous service to local residents and nearby workers.
In these challenging times, supporting these hawkers, who strive to earn a living just like everyone else, is crucial.
But your concern: It’s not that I don’t want to show support, but what if I catch TB also…
Well, Minister Ong Ye Kung had stood up with his status as the Health Minister and cleared the air – TB is not transmissible in the way we think it does.
Dispelling TB Misconceptions
Health concerns about TB transmission have deterred patrons, but Health Minister Ong Ye Kung addressed these fears.
Dining at the centre on 14 Jan, he ordered claypot rice, oyster omelette, and chendol.
In his Facebook post, he reassured the public that TB cannot be contracted through sharing cups, utensils, or food, handshakes, or occasional meals at the centre.
TB spreads through close and prolonged exposure, typically over days or weeks. It’s more likely contracted from living or working daily with an infected person.
The screening is a precaution to identify TB cases among those who live or work in the area, as well as frequent visitors.
Contrary to COVID-19, TB is not transmitted through shared food or utensils.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, TB is certainly not spread just by shaking hands, sharing food or drink, sharing toothbrushes, kissing, or touching bed lines or toilet seats.
To date, over 1,500 people, about 93% of eligible residents, have registered for the screening, according to The Straits Times.
All active TB cases have been treated and are no longer infectious.
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