Why are there still new COVID-19 cases after the dormitories were “cleared”?

Why are there still new COVID-19 cases after the dormitories were “cleared”?

During the first week of August, the migrant workers’ dormitories that were in quarantine were set to be cleared by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM). And the Ministry released a press statement on 19 August, announcing that all the dormitories had been cleared of COVID-19.

However, new COVID-19 cases were detected one week prior to this very announcement.

Yesterday (23 August), the MOM and the Ministry of Health (MOH) released a joint statement, revealing that there were 58 newly confirmed coronavirus cases linked to the Sungei Tengah Lodge (STL) cluster. The STL was a purpose-built dormitory.

All the reported 58 cases were asymptomatic.

It was revealed that a majority of these cases were detected through Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) of the workers, and the rest were detected as part of testing persons under quarantine.

Following the confirmation of this cluster, the statement announced that around 4,800 workers were issued a Stay-Home Notice (SHN) as a precautionary measure as the workers’ health status is being determined.

According to the statement, the rest of the residents at STL are either “recently recovered” workers, or were not close contacts of the confirmed cases.

The MOM stated that they will be testing the affected workers at the STL in the “next few days”, and the ones who will be tested positive will be sent to a community care facility or hospital to receive medical treatment. The rest who are tested negative will be quarantined at centralised facilities to prevent any workers incubating the virus from potentially infecting the rest of the population.

The duration of quarantine was not specified.

With the commencement of the RRT that was supposed to be carried out every 14 days, does this mean that the incubation period of the coronavirus is more than the supposed 14 days?

Considering that the MOM claimed that they had tested the migrant workers and cleared the dormitories of COVID-19, why are there still new cases arising from “cleared” dormitories?

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