4,800 workers issued stay-home notice after new COVID-19 cluster at Sungei Tengah Lodge

4,800 workers issued stay-home notice after new COVID-19 cluster at Sungei Tengah Lodge

Google Maps Sungei Tengah Lodge
Screengrab from Google Maps showing the exterior of Sungei Tengah Lodge.

SINGAPORE: Around 4,800 workers have been issued a stay-home notice at Sungei Tengah Lodge, said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Sunday (Aug 23), a day after a new COVID-19 cluster emerged at the dormitory. 

Located at 500 Old Choa Chu Kang Road, the dormitory was among the largest COVID-19 clusters in Singapore with more than 2,200 confirmed cases before it was declared cleared of the coronavirus by MOM last month.

As of Sunday, 58 cases have been linked to the new cluster, all of them asymptomatic.

MOM said in a joint statement with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and Building and Construction Authority (BCA) late on Sunday that the move to issue a stay-home notice was a precautionary measure while the health of the workers was being determined.

The ministry said it will test the workers on stay-home notice over the next few days.

“We expect to find among these workers, some who have evidence of an old infection and are no longer infectious. Such workers will be released from stay-home notice and can resume work,” said MOM.

READ: COVID-19 cases detected again in cleared migrant worker dorms, about 7,000 quarantined due to new infections

Workers who test positive will be sent to community care facilities or hospitals for medical treatment, while those who test negative will be quarantined at centralised facilities to prevent any transmission during the viral incubation period.

The rest of the residents at Sungei Tengah Lodge are either recently recovered or were not close contacts of confirmed cases. These workers will be allowed to continue working and are not required to be isolated.

Workers who are not recently recovered will continue to undergo rostered routine testing.

SAFETY TIME-OUT NOTICE

In the statement, BCA said it has issued a safety time-out notice to 20 construction projects where the workers who tested positive for COVID-19 had been working. 

This is to allow for disinfection of the affected areas and a review of safe management measures at the work sites, it said.

"A stop-work order may then be issued for part or whole of the worksite once the area where the COVID-positive worker and his co-workers operate have been identified," said BCA.

“The builder is required to review his safety management plans and make necessary rectification/improvement to mitigate any risk of further spread.”

READ: Employers must ensure that workers undergo routine COVID-19 swab test by Sep 5

READ: New MOM division to provide support to migrant workers, dormitory operators

Sungei Tengah Lodge is Singapore's biggest purpose-built dormitory, with about 16,000 workers living there. 

In recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have been detected in migrant worker dormitories that were previously given the all-clear from the virus.

A new cluster was identified on Sunday at Homestay Lodge at 39 Kaki Bukit Avenue 3. The dormitory was previously cleared of COVID-19 by MOM on Aug 4.

“The new cases detected in the cleared dormitories demonstrate the importance of ongoing surveillance and testing under rostered routine testing, as well as the need to remain vigilant and adhere to safe management measures,” said MOM on Sunday.

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Source: CNA/ec(hs)

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