More than a third of Singaporean or PR cases in May linked to dormitory clusters

SINGAPORE (CNA) – More than a third of Singaporean or permanent resident COVID-19 cases in the community in May have been linked to dormitory clusters, an analysis of its Ministry of Health’s (MoH) daily updates has shown.

As of yesterday, there have been 123 Singaporean or PR community cases in May, of which at least 44 have links to 19 dormitories.

Most of those patients tested positive for COVID-19 after a contact or family member went to work at dormitories and contracted the disease. At least nine Singaporean or PR cases are linked to Cochrane Lodge II dormitory, including a household of six who became infected after a household contact went to work at the dormitory.

There are more than 30,500 COVID-19 cases among work pass holders living in dormitories.

The number of new community cases daily has dropped steadily since the end of April and Singapore is, as a result, set to exit its “circuit breaker” period on June 1.

Several dormitories, including Cochrane Lodge II, were declared isolation areas as the first clusters in dormitories broke out.

On April 21, all migrant workers living in dormitories were told to stop work and were not allowed to move in and out of their dormitories until May 4, as more clusters were identified in dormitories. On May 2, this restriction on daily movement was extended until Jun 1.

These measures were put in place to “minimise the risk of further community transmission of COVID-19”, said MoH.

On April 21, Singapore Manpower Minister Josephine Teo said that this restriction had to be introduced as foreign workers who move in and out of dormitories are “potential channels for cross infections, in both directions”.

Residents get free reusable face masks from a vending machine by scanning their identification card, set up by the government as part of the effort to halt the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, at a community centre in Singapore. PHOTO: AFP