Manpower Minister Josephine Teo has received intense criticism after she urged that the public “should not be overly alarmed” over the high number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore.
Singapore has seen over 26,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 21 infection-linked deaths to date, with the vast majority of cases arising from the cramped foreign worker dorms.
On Tuesday (12 May), Minister Lawrence Wong said that the Government will test all 300,000 workers residing in the dormitories for COVID-19 systematically. In a Facebook post published two days later, on Thursday (14 May), Mrs Teo said that the high number of COVID-19 cases among migrant workers is a result of the Government’s initiative of testing more workers for infection.
The ruling party politician seemed to brag as she added, “The large number of reported cases among our migrant workers today reflects our current approach to aggressive testing. Few countries have tested their migrant populations extensively; far fewer have undertaken to test all their migrant workers, as Singapore has.”
Warning that the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore will remain high due to the “comprehensive testing” among migrant workers, Mrs Teo said that the public “should not be overly alarmed” since “it is better to test, so that we know what we’re dealing with and can then take the right actions.”
Singaporeans responding to Mrs Teo’s remarks online expressed frustration. Some noted the Minister’s reasoning that the high number of cases among migrant workers is a result of extensive testing and asked whether the low number of community cases is linked to insufficient testing.
Others felt that the Minister’s call that the public should not be “overly alarmed” was insensitive and decried the quality of leaders in the Government. Read the top comments on social media here:
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