Why Condos might be the next breeding ground for COVID-19




A new cluster at a Condo was uncovered a few days ago

It was reported that 5 cases are now linked to a new cluster at Wing Fong Court. Wing Fong Court is a condominium with 218 units. The 5 cases would probably be of different household in order to create a cluster. In addition, there are several cases of confirmed cases living in condos as well. The Condo cluster was the only other cluster announced other than dorms in recent days.

That brings forth the question, is condos at risk to be a potential hidden cluster?

Gated community
Most Condos are gated communities. The buildings are housed in a privatised estate with walls and gates to isolate the community. While this provides privacy, it also means that actions within are often away from the prying eyes.

This, in turn, would make the monitoring of safe distancing a difficult task for social distancing ambassador to enforce.

Management Councils - Conflict of Interest
The rules of condos are often approved by Management Councils( MC). MC are made up of unit owners or their nominees to represent collective interest of residents. Being part of the community, some are reluctant to enforce strict guidelines in the estate.


Toothless security?
While it can argue that there are security guards to enforce the policy, the reality can be far from this. Residents know that they have 'power' over the guards and would make things difficult for them should enforcement be met.

With their jobs on the line, some security guards would avoid incidents by not confronting the residents in cases of breaches.

A false sense of security
Living behind a gated community might give the impression that it is safe to venture within the compound of the estate. This means no need mask if you are just walking around the estate. While it has been clarified that it is necessary to do so by the authorities, there are those who continue to defy the laws

Common property = common threats.
While pools, gyms, playground and bbq areas are considered out of bounds, there are still residents insisting on using it. This would lead to an increased risk of transmission. In addition, common property facilities like benches, lifts and railings are a possible source of transmission. As one lives in a gated community,  the touch frequency may be higher compared to one in a public estate as residents can choose to head down for a walk or exercise

More Work From Home = More interactions
As more people work from home, it would mean more chances of interactions. In a close-knit gated community, it might be challenging to reduce social contact especially if you see your neighbours exercising around the compound at the same time as you.

What can be done?
There are already policies in place to keep condo common facilities shut. In addition, the wearing of masks is compulsory in condos. However, most condos are self-regulated. It will ultimately be up to the residents to self-enforced. In a closed community, that could be harder to do given how it may hurt relationships.

In that case, it might be better to use the One Service app to report cases of breach. As painful as it may be, enforcing it via the community would be the best way to stop the spread.



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