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Dr Tan Cheng Bock: Act quickly to prevent spread of Covid-19 in dormitories

PSP leader suggests sending those who test negative to another holding location




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Two foreign worker dormitories that have seen a climb in new Covid-19 infections have been gazetted as isolation areas to prevent further spread of the disease. All 19,800 foreign workers housed at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol and at Westlite Toh Guan dormitory are being quarantined in their rooms for 14 days.

In a Facebook post yesterday (April 7), the Secretary-General of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP), Dr Tan Cheng Bock, wrote: “I am worried about the breakout of Covid-19 in workers dorms. In congested living quarters, the spread can spike very quickly. 12-20 men are housed closely in each room. Workers share toilets and eating areas.”

He asked: “How will they break the chain of infection if they cannot practice social distancing and observe Covid-fighting hygiene habits like frequent hand washing?”

Dr Tan made several recommendations on how to deal with the problem:
(1) Test all workers in these dorms.
(2) Separate the sick from the rest. Isolate Covid-19 positive cases in the dormitory for observation, medical checks and refer to hospital, if necessary. Disinfect their dormitories.
(3) Send those tested negative to another holding location. This is to cut the chain of infection and give them peace of mind. In addition to the Singapore Expo, use the sports stadiums and erect temporary living quarters on the open fields.

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He noted that housing them separately from the rest would make it easier to monitor them  and to reduce the spread of the virus.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) announced on its website on the evening of April 7 that the country has 106 new Covid-19 cases. The biggest increase was linked to the cluster at S11 Dormitory @ Punggol (2 Seletar North Link), which now has 98 confirmed cases.

In light of the Covid-19 situation, social gatherings of any size, in homes or public spaces, are not allowed under a new law that was pushed through Parliament on Tuesday.

The ban includes having private parties or gatherings with families or friends not living together, at home or in public spaces like parks and Housing Board void decks, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong told Parliament. /TISG

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