Singapore on Thu (9 Apr) recorded its highest daily number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the majority of the 287 cases traced to clusters at migrant worker dormitories and Mustafa Centre.
The Health Ministry’s (MOH) director of medical services Kenneth Mak at a press conference today said that preliminary investigations have revealed a link between the cluster at Mustafa Centre with clusters at the Project Glory construction site and five dormitories.
Associate Professor Mak said that MOH is of the opinion that foreign workers had visited Mustafa Centre — where some employees had fallen ill — and were infected there.
The said migrant workers then transmitted the virus to their co-workers, who subsequently passed on the virus to others at their dormitories.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said at the same press conference that many of the migrant workers “had very mild symptoms and so they continued to work, that’s why there was a delay in picking them up”.
Associate Professor Mak said that the Government has begun active case finding and is swab-testing workers in various dormitories.
Mr Wong said, however, that the spike is observed in foreign worker dormitories. Figures are more stable in the wider community in Singapore, he noted.
The Manpower Ministry (MOM) on Tue earlier announced the formation of an inter-agency task force to assist foreign workers and dormitory operators.
The task force will ensure the wellbeing of workers and improve their living conditions by supporting dormitory operators as they implement circuit breaker measures.
MOM will be working jointly with MOH, National Environment Agency, the Singapore Armed Forces, the Singapore Police Force, Migrant Workers’ Centre and other agencies in the taskforce.
Explaining the Government’s decision to set up a task force, Mr Wong said: “We cannot rely solely on dorm operators anymore, given the current situation.”
Manpower Minister Josephine Teo noted that there has been no cluster in dormitories until recently, even though a number of foreign workers have tested positive for the virus.
“Bear in mind that dorms are home to foreign workers,” she added. “Within dorms workers interact with each other very regularly, very closely, they’re like family, so the risk of transmission was always there.”
Singapore has recorded 1,910 confirmed cases to date.