Singapore — In a widely-shared post, playwright Alfian Sa’at has expressed concern with the high number of Covid-19 cases (908) on Wednesday (Aug 5).
Mr Alfian wrote that even though community cases have been low, those in the foreign worker dormitories, which made up the vast majority of Singapore’s 54,254 confirmed cases at that date, have remained in the hundreds for weeks, even after infectious disease experts expected they would taper down considerably by June.
In its daily update, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said that the new cases on Aug 5 were among the last batch of foreign workers who live in dormitories “with a relatively high prevalence of Covid-19”.
The ministry added that case counts should be expected to be higher in the next few days before lessening again as the dormitories are being cleared, and that it was “on track” to clear all the dormitories by Friday (Aug 7).
However, this may be of little comfort to migrant workers, Mr Alfian writes, as he puts himself in their shoes. “All I have to do is think of myself as a migrant worker. I open the newspapers and all I read is how the numbers in the dorm have not been decreasing. And yet the ‘community’ numbers are down to a trickle. I see images of Singaporeans starting to crowd public spaces, eating in restaurants and bars, making their way back to normalcy. What kind of one government, two systems is this?”
908 cases today. There really is no comfort to be taken in the fact that ‘community’ cases are in the single digits…
Mr Alfian adds that there seems to be very little care among Singaporeans for the migrant workers, and takes aim at the “excuse” the MOH often repeats, that these workers are young, relatively healthy and show no or few symptoms of Covid-19.
“What about the long-term effects of exposure to the virus?,” he added, expressing concern for the mental health of the workers as well, many of whom are burdened with debt and racked with insecurity over their jobs, future and families back home.
Those commenting on Mr Alfian’s post agreed with his views.