Public ‘should not be overly alarmed’ over high number of COVID-19 cases: Manpower Minister

Public ‘should not be overly alarmed’ over high number of COVID-19 cases: Manpower Minister

SAF mobile swab station migrant worker dorm testing
A migrant worker being swab tested at the MSS. (Photo: MINDEF)

SINGAPORE: Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has urged the public to not be "overly alarmed", even as the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore remains elevated because of “comprehensive testing” among migrant workers.

Mrs Teo made the appeal in a Facebook post on Thursday (May 14), in which she also outlined some of the measures targeting migrant workers as "circuit breaker" restrictions are gradually lifted from June.

So far, the vast majority of COVID-19 cases in Singapore have been among foreign workers living in dormitories.

READ: Like a 'giant N95 mask': Safer, faster COVID-19 testing of migrant workers with new mobile swab station



Mrs Teo explained that the large number of reported cases among migrant workers reflected the current approach of “aggressive testing”.

“Few countries have tested their migrant populations extensively; far fewer have undertaken to test all their migrant workers, as Singapore has.”

READ: Other Singapore labs not using same COVID-19 test kit, instrument that led to 33 false positive cases: MOH

All 323,000 foreign workers staying in these dorms will be tested to ensure they are virus-free before resuming work, National Development Minster Lawrence Wong had previously announced on Tuesday.

This “extensive testing approach”, Mrs Teo said, “will make sure that the workers are free from infection when they are able to resume work”.

“As we move into the recovery phase, we must try and help our businesses to restart operations safely, and help our workers go back to work safely.

“Many Singaporeans therefore understand that systematic testing allows us to take better care of the workers, as well as protect our businesses and the broader community.”

READ: COVID-19: Singapore records more discharged cases than new patients in a day

She added this “robust testing strategy” would have to go together with health monitoring and surveillance measures that the Government has started to put in place.

“This will allow us, on an ongoing basis, to detect infections in workers who might have mild or no symptoms, and help them get treatment earlier.”

To date, Singapore has seen more than 25,000 COVID-19 cases and 21 fatalities linked to the disease.


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Source: CNA/aa(ac)

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