New Covid-19 cases detected at cleared dormitories; workers in dorms to be swabbed every 14 days

Two new cases were linked to Kian Teck Hostel. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - There have been new cases detected at dormitories declared to be cleared of the coronavirus and the authorities are monitoring the situation to manage the risk of new outbreaks.

A joint statement by the Ministry of Manpower, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and the Health Promotion Board on Tuesday (Aug 11) pointed to fresh infections in cleared dormitories without providing any details on the numbers affected.

It said that safeguards have been put in place to make sure that the intensive efforts spent over the past four months on the dormitories so far do not go to waste.

This comes as the construction, marine and process sectors look to restart work.

"With more daily movements in and out of the dormitories, it is even more important for everyone to remain vigilant to guard against new infections," the joint statement said.

For instance, six new cases were linked to Kian Teck Dormitory while two others were linked to Kian Teck Hostel, according to the Ministry of Health's update on Monday.

Both had been cleared of the virus by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM).

The joint statement on Tuesday said the measures to ensure workers can safely restart work include requiring them to report their temperature and any symptoms of acute respiratory illness through an app twice a day.

Workers in dormitories and those who work onsite in the construction, marine and process sectors will also have to be swab tested once every 14 days.

Employers should space out the testing of their workers over the 14-day period so that the authorities are able to "maintain constant surveillance of the Covid-19 situation". Workers who have recovered from Covid-19 are not required to undergo regular testing for 180 days.

Other measures include staggered pick-up and drop-off times for workers to and from their work sites, updating the workers' residence addresses, and minimising mixing between blocks.

Wastewater from higher risk dormitories are also closely monitored for traces of the Covid-19 virus, and the number of migrant workers who report sick at any particular medical post tracked as possible early indications of possible clusters.

Plans are in place to quickly quarantine and isolate at risk workers if a potential infection surface.

Singapore completed testing all 323,000 workers in dorms for Covid-19 on Aug 7, with about nine in 10 workers having recovered or been found to be free of the coronavirus as of last week.

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