All Singapore dorms to be cleared of Covid-19 by today, number of cases to fluctuate over next 2 weeks

All foreign workers in dormitories will be cleared by August 7, 2020. — TODAY pic
All foreign workers in dormitories will be cleared by August 7, 2020. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, Aug 7 — All foreign workers in dormitories will be cleared by Friday although the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases will fluctuate for the next two weeks, said Lawrence Wong, the co-chair of the ministerial task force to tackle the pandemic, yesterday.

Confirmed Covid-19 cases are then expected to “taper down significantly” after that, said Wong, who is also the Education Minister.

“We had earlier said that the task force was aiming to complete the clearance of workers in the dormitories by the first week of August, and I’m happy to report that the team has indeed been able to complete the testing of all workers in dormitories and will do so by tomorrow, Aug 7,” said Wong at a press conference by the task force.

However, he said that workers who remain isolated in quarantine facilities have yet to be cleared.

“This final batch of workers who are in isolation will stay in isolation, complete their isolation period and will be tested before they exit from their quarantine facilities,” said Wong.

“As these workers complete their isolation and we subject them to a test, we don’t know how many will be testing positive or negative.” 

Whether they will be a spike in cases or otherwise depends on how many test positive or negative.

Wong said that the task force expects the number of Covid-19 cases to “taper down significantly” after that because all foreign workers would have been cleared by then.

He added that the task force is also trying to expedite the process for cleared or recovered workers to return to work as soon as possible and urged employers to prepare for the resumption of work by putting in place safe distancing measures.

He said he was confident that the vast majority of workers who are cleared or recovered will be able to resume work by the end of this month, allowing many construction projects to start again.

Responding to a question by the media on changes that will be made to dormitories, Wong said that instead of having workers under one employer dispersed across different blocks, they will be consolidated for better management.

All workers in dormitories will also be tested for the virus every two weeks.

“If through routine testing, we pick up cases, we will go in quickly, isolate the room or even the entire floor, so that we can pull out workers at risk without having the whole dorm potentially subject to lockdown,” he added.

The government will also employ a range of surveillance methods to detect the virus early, including a sweep test of workers. Protocols will also be put in place to reduce large clusters from forming again, said Wong. — TODAY

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