Singapore quarantines more than 1,100 migrant workers, investigating reinfections

Singapore quarantines more than 1,100 migrant workers after about a dozen COVID-19 cases were found in a home and is investigating the possibility of reinfections among those who have recovered from the virus.

More than 1,100 dormitory workers will be quarantined at government units for 14 days, the dormitory operator said in a letter to customers posted on social media.

Centurion Corp (CNCL.SI), which owns the Westlite Woodlands home, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Authorities conducted COVID-19 tests on the home’s occupants after a worker was found positive during routine tests on Tuesday.

The worker had received the second dose of vaccination a week earlier, and his roommate was also positive.

To date, at least 10 recovered workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

“These cases were immediately isolated and forwarded to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) to investigate for possible reinfection,” the labor ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

A Reuters reporter saw about 10 buses lined up near the home on Thursday, taking dozens of men out of the complex.

Most of Singapore’s more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases took place in homes that house tens of thousands of low-wage workers, mostly from South Asia, triggering the closure of the premises last year.

Singapore has largely brought the virus under local control and also launched vaccinations. It reported more than 10 cases in a single day among home residents in September, with only new infections in the past few months.

The Ministry of Health has previously stated that vaccines have been effective in preventing symptomatic diseases, but further research has been needed to prevent further transmission.

Concerns have been raised about new variants of the virus and the effectiveness of existing vaccines against them.

While the potential for reinfection existed, these cases came earlier than expected, said Hsu Li Yang, an infectious disease expert at Singapore National University.

Dormitory workers are still for the most part separated from the rest of the population, usually only allowed to leave the residence for work.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s transport ministry said it hoped a delayed air travel bubble with Hong Kong would begin soon, but no date had yet been set. Read more

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