Nearly 140 maids tested positive for COVID-19 so far, mostly imported cases: Josephine Teo
SINGAPORE: A total of 139 foreign domestic workers (FDW) have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Oct 28, said Manpower Minister Josephine Teo in a written parliamentary reply on Wednesday (Nov 4).
She was responding to Member of Parliament Tan Wu Meng's questions on the proportion of maids who tested positive, the estimated prevalence of the COVID-19 among them and the precautions in place to protect them from becoming carriers of the coronavirus.
Of the 139 COVID-19 cases involving foreign domestic workers, 109 were imported cases who tested positive while serving their stay-home notice at dedicated facilities upon arrival, Mrs Teo said.
The remaining 30 were locally transmitted, with the last case reported on Jul 19, she added.
“These 30 locally transmitted FDW cases are part of the 2,268 local community cases as of Oct 28, 2020, and the infection rate of 0.01 per cent among the FDW population is lower than the overall community rate of 0.04 per cent,” she said.
Twenty-four of the 30 locally transmitted FDW cases were linked to a previous case in the employer’s household, said Mrs Teo.
"Of the remaining six cases, none had spread to anyone in the employer’s household; one is linked to the Mustafa cluster while the rest do not have any established links," she added.
Mrs Teo noted that the ministry has issued advisories and distributed educational materials to employers and maids to remind them to take appropriate measures to minimise their exposure to COVID-19.
Employers and maids are encouraged to take rest days on weekdays when public spaces are less crowded, as well as to make use of e-remittance services.
As for foreign domestic workers travelling to Singapore, Mrs Teo said they are subject to the same entry requirements as inbound travellers with the same travel history.
The “vast majority” of incoming maids are also required to undergo pre-departure testing within 72 hours before leaving for Singapore.
“We will continue to regularly review our border measures, so as to manage the risk of importation and mitigate transmission to the local community,” Mrs Teo said.
Singapore reported seven new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday. Two of the cases were from foreign worker dormitories, while the remaining were imported infections.