Singapore quarantines about 1,200 migrant workers
Singapore is quarantining about 1,200 migrant workers after finding COVID-19 cases in their dormitory including among men who had recovered from the virus, raising concerns about re-infections. Singapore authorities are now conducting COVID-19 tests for all residents of Westlite Woodlands dormitory after one worker was found positive COVID-19 case on Tuesday during routine testing. The worker had received a second vaccination dose a week earlier and his roommate also tested positive.
So far, ongoing testing in the dormitory shows 17 recovered workers are positive for COVID-19. Authorities and experts are investigating the cases for possible re-infection or whether they are persistent shedders from their earlier infection, the health ministry said.
Most of the COVID-19 cases from 2020 till now are foreign workers residing in dormitories. So far more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases had been identified from 2020 till now and the bulk of those cases occurred in dormitories that house tens of thousands of workers from construction, marine and process industries. 2020 also saw lockdowns of dormitories. Singapore had been successful to bring the virus under control locally and had also began rolling out vaccinations. Singapore has been prioritising vaccinating those workers who have not yet been infected. Now it will plan to inoculate recovered workers with a single dose.
It last reported more than 10 cases in a single day among dormitory residents in September, with barely any new infections over the last few months.
On top of this, Singapore is also blocking entry to long-term visa holders and visitors with recent travel history to India. India is currently battling a second wave of COVID-19 infections and from generally most of the foreign workers are coming from India.
While workers would have served stay home notices before beginning work, the health ministry was cautious and considered that there still may be a leak that could happen.
It also said there was no evidence that the recent dormitory cases were linked to a new strain from India. It will also increase quarantine requirements for migrant workers who arrive newly from high-risk countries and is tightening testing measures.
Concerns have been growing over new variants of the virus and the effectiveness of existing vaccines against them.
The dormitory workers are still mostly separated from the rest of the population, typically only allowed out of their residence for work.
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