Singapore tops 10,000 virus cases as worker infections rise

We have tested aggressively. Not only those who reported sick, but also who are well and asymptomatic, says PM

SINGAPORE • The total number of coronavirus cases in Singapore exceeded 10,000 yesterday as infections among migrant workers living in dormitories continued to surge.

As of noon, the city-state preliminarily recorded 1,016 new cases, according to a statement by the Health Ministry, bringing the total number of Covid-19 infections to 10,141. Of the new cases, the vast majority are work permit holders living in dormitories across the island, while 15 cases are Singaporeans or permanent residents, the statement said.

The rising number of cases in the facilities, where more than 200,000 people live, has complicated efforts to curb the spread of the virus in Singapore, even as the government looks for new ways to house workers who may be sharing living spaces with 10 or more people.

On Tuesday, Singapore said it’ll halt the daily movement of workers in and out of all dormitories, including those that are purpose-built, factory converted or temporary quarters for construction labourers. Healthy workers in essential services have been moved to other facilities.

“The large number of cases at the dorms is a serious problem,” Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong said in an address to the nation on Tuesday.

“To assess the extent of the spread, we have tested aggressively. Not only those who reported sick, or showed fever or flu symptoms. But also those who were well and asymptomatic.”

Foreign-worker cases now account for a steep majority of all confirmed infections in Singa- pore. The government has converted military camps and vacant public housing into interim housing facilities for those who are healthy.

Meanwhile, it is also considering using cruise ships to accommodate workers who have recovered from the coronavirus and tested negative. — Bloomberg