It has been more than a month since the migrant workers’ dormitories were declared cleared of COVID-19, however, new cases were being detected every day since then. The Ministry of Health (MOH) claimed that the newly detected cases were the result of the bi-weekly Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) and the Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng expressed that the Government is “prepared” for the new infections.

New COVID-19 cases in Singapore reported for the past three days showed that the majority of the cases were detected at the dormitories.

The infections in the dormitories arose from the ones who were already under quarantine, as well as detected from surveillance.

A total of 55 dormitory cases was reported on 10 September, 73 on 11 September, 28 on 12 September, 40 on 13 September, and 43 on 14 September.

While the MOH revealed that a majority the dormitory cases was linked to known cases or clusters, the rest were said to be pending contact tracing.

With the number of new cases reported at the dormitories every day, does it signify that infections had been on-going even when the dorms were declared to be “cleared”?

Dr Tan reported that many of the dormitory residents had never been exposed to the coronavirus before, therefore, they were said to remain susceptible to contracting the virus.

Right after the statement, he added that the Government is “prepared” by using a “multi-layered strategy” to detect and contain any new infections “very quickly and very decisively”.

“Obviously, the key thing is prevention. So we’ve put in place ‘Safe Living, Safe Working, Safe Rest Day’. These are measures that limit the intermixing of workers at the dormitories as well as work sites.”

If this strategy works well, why wasn’t it applied back when the cases were booming in the dormitories?

Also, what is the purpose of declaring the dormitories to be cleared of COVID-19, when there were still new cases emerging back on 11 August?

Is the plan for arranging RRT a sign that the authorities knew there were possible new infections but went on with the declaration anyway?

Should the definition of “cleared dormitories” be clarified instead?

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