25 APRIL 2020
UPDATED 05 MAY 2020
UPDATED 22 MAY 2020
As of 21 May 2020, MOH has been monitoring existing clusters for any further transmission. As there have been no more cases linked to Natureland East Coast (907 East Coast Road), Wing Fong Court (10 Lorong 14 Geylang) and 112 Neythal Road for the past two incubation periods (i.e. 28 days), the clusters have now been closed.
Natureland Group would like to address media reports of Natureland East Coast outlet being a COVID-19 cluster on 24 April 2020. We are sorry for the anxiety caused to our customers due to this news. It is important for our customers to know how we handled the situation as it happened. Transparency is important to us, thus we are reaching out to all media to shed more light about our situation and answer any questions they might have.
CNA has updated their news article on 25 April 2020 with our additional information.
– We received a call from MOH on 01 April 2020 that a Vietnamese EP holder had tested positive with COVID-19, and informed us that he had visited our East Coast outlet.
– The customer showed no symptoms of COVID-19 when he visited Natureland East Coast on 19 March 2020. Logs from that day will be able to show his temperature reading.
– MOH informed Natureland for the specific therapist of the above mentioned customer to stay home until 02 April 2020, which would be 14-days after the customer had visited the East Coast outlet.
– Per MOH advisory, since therapist showed no symptoms by 02 April 2020, there was no need to quarantine other staff. Business could be conducted normally.
– We continued to monitor all staff at East Coast for temperature spike, physical indications of symptoms such as flu and coughing. Such staff will be asked to be on sick leave.
– One of our other staff reported sick on 30 March 2020, and was ordered to stay home until further notice.
– Adhering to government’s circuit-breaker, we ceased operations at all outlets on 07 April 2020.
– Upon COVID-19 testing for our staff, five tested positive from 09 to 21 April 2020. 1 Singaporean (Male, 50s), 1 Thai PR (Female, 40s), 2 Malaysian WP (Both Male, 40s), 1 China WP (Male, 40s).
– Two had been discharged from local hospitals on 20 and 22 April 2020. The remaining three are still in hospital with mild symptoms and we wish them well.
– A further 2 more of our 5 EC staff have fully recovered and discharged from hospital on 05 May 2020. We have 1 last EC staff with mild symptoms in hospital and we will monitor her situation closely.
– Following the authorities order, all staff has been serving 14-days quarantine since 07 April 2020.
– There are zero cases at our other six Natureland outlets.
In light of the government announcements and precautionary measures, it is important to note that we have closed all our outlets since 07 April 2020. Our recent announcement on our website on 22 April 2020 was to update the announcement that we will continue to be closed based on the extension of the circuit breaker announced by PM Lee on 21 April 2020. Throughout this period, we have followed above and beyond all guidelines and measures set forth concerning all non-essential businesses.
We engaged a disinfecting company by the Ministry of Health (MOH) to perform deep-cleaning of our East Coast outlet on 03 April. All East Coast outlet staff have been in quarantine period from 07 April 2020 and will end on 21 April 2020. We have already arranged for another round of disinfection deep-cleaning at the end of May when the circuit breaker is lifted on 02 June 2020.
We apologise for not handling it in a more socially responsible manner. Even though MOH told us we could continue operations per normal, we should not have assumed that since the quarantine period was over and no staff tested positive, that everything would have been fine. We should have informed customers visiting our East Coast outlet about the situation that has happened.
If customers have concerns about discharged patients being infectious, MOH has issued an official answer below:
“No. COVID-19 patients in Singapore are discharged only when fully recovered and no longer transmitting the virus. Prior to discharge, two swab tests at least 24 hours apart are done, using sputum samples, nasal or throat swabs. Doctors may also conduct tests with fecal or urine samples. Tests on consecutive days have to be negative before patients can be discharged. Patients are also given a date for follow-up at the hospital.”
Finally, we hope that our customers and the public understand that we are one with the Singapore government in combating this disease and have done everything requested of us by the authorities. However, we still could have done more to be more transparent about the situation and we sincerely apologise to our customers about this matter. We will strive to be better and would gladly extend help or answer any questions along the way.
For customers who follow our Facebook page, there is a chronological account of how we have taken steps to prevent COVID-19 at our establishments:
01 Feb 2020 – Upon returning from CNY break, all staff were briefed on following proper hand washing techniques approved by WHO and printed out the steps to place at all Natureland restrooms.
05 Feb 2020 – All staff had to wear surgical masks at all times, despite the government advice that only people who were sick had to wear. Natureland felt the need to be safe than sorry.
07 Feb 2020 – Natureland successfully sourced for sanitisers with 70% alcohol content, verified by various medical professionals as the optimal content for a disinfectant. Sanitisation of outlets done hourly. Every staff carried a small spray bottle in their pocket and we placed the sanitisers at the counters and rest areas.
09 Feb 2020 – Every outlet was given thermometers. Staff had to take their temperatures at regular intervals and every customer coming in had their temperature and particulars taken to ensure that contact tracing can be done.
17 Feb 2020 – Natureland introduced a more stringent room cleaning and preparation procedure to improve the hygiene level of every room. This included a video for staff to follow, disposable sheets and sanitising spray.
17 Mar 2020 – We reached out to work closely with social distancing ambassadors and followed strictly to the guidelines of social distancing by placing 1-metre markers and ‘do not sit’ markers at all our outlets.
06 Apr 2020 – Natureland announced on all social media platforms and on our website that every outlet will adhere to the circuit-breaker and cease operations on 07 Apr 2020. We have conducted no business during the circuit-breaker period.
22 Apr 2020 – Upon the announcement of extension to the circuit-breaker period by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on 21 Apr 2020, Natureland UPDATED our original announcement to state that we will continue to cease operations until 01 June 2020.
Please note that our implementation date and social media posting date may not be the same as we have to prepare visual media (*images and videos), and copywriting before posting.