In what looked like a scene from a disaster movie, a cleaning team wearing personal protective equipment arrived at Mustafa Centre in Little India to begin the mammoth job of disinfecting the shopping complex.
According to a report from TODAY, Singaporean health officials confirmed a cluster of COVID-19 cases that emerged from the employees of the shopping centre, and the large, 24-hour mall was “shut down until further notice,” as seen in some of the signs across its myriad of stores.
Mustafa Centre store manager Shamim Ahmad said that they hope to re-open the supermarket on April 17.
Fourteen cases emerged from Mustafa, with five or six of the cases employees. Health officials have already considered the shopping complex a cluster.
Scenes from a movie
Netizens shared photos of the cleanup operation, which showed around 20 people entering Mustafa and its labyrinth of stores on April 4, a day after it was closed.
The cleaning team, wearing white, full-body personal protective equipment, started the task of disinfecting every nook and cranny of the store. Before the team arrived, several workers of the mall had already gone through the 400,000 square feet of stores to remove perishable goods.
Here is one cleaner spraying disinfectant solution in one of the aisles of the many stores in the huge shopping complex that is Mustafa.
The cleaning team poses outside one of the entrances to the mall.
You can see that they disinfect the aisles, the shelves, and even the packaging of the toys in this store. The cash register and counter are also of great interest as these could be what helped spread the disease in Mustafa.
the cleaning crew wore white protective suits, face masks, black gloves, and work boots. They did not tape any of the suits shut–but this is usually seen only in COVID-19 wards in hospitals.
What happened to the Mustafa staff?
According to Shamim, the 1,650 employyes of the store were told to go home. It was not mentioned in the TODAY report if they were requiredto undergo 14-day quarantine.
A lot of the tenants and workers from the shopping centre have mentioned how bad business had begun since the outbreak started.
Some restaurant owners said that even with the outbreak, they would still see a regular flow of customers especially during lunchtime, but the infection cluster made business almost come to a halt, with only two to three patrons coming in to eat.
Singapore tightens measures for movement
As schools closed and most offices and workplaces were ordered to resort to telecommuting if possible, essential services such as clinics, hospitals, supermarkets, food establishments, and other shops were asked to remain open.
The Straits Times reported on April 5 that Singapore saw a surge in COVID-19 infections, with 120 new cases–76 of these from long-term pass holders. Two foreign worker dormitories have since been isolated as following the surge of infections.
Several patrons of Mustafa were asked in the same TODAY report if they would return to the centre once the cleanup was finished, and they expressed both positive and negative sentiments.
One patron said that they do not mind returning to eat, but would not linger in the place. Others mentioned that they would avoid Mustafa for now, even if it re-opens.
Header image from HardwareZone.