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“We should not be overly alarmed” by Covid-19 cases in dorms: Josephine Teo

Facebook post receives both supportive and critical comments about MOM’s work




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Singapore — Manpower Minister Josephine Teo took to Facebook on Thursday (May 14) to appeal to Singaporeans to “not be overly alarmed” over the high numbers of Covid-19  cases among migrant workers, as these are but results of comprehensive testing.
While a few of those responding to the post praised the Ministry of Manpower for its work, more were critical of its performance. There were those who called the oversight of the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) of foreign worker dorms the “weakest link” in the country’s handling of the crisis.

Mrs Teo had referred to National Development Minister Lawrence Wong’s announcement that all 300,000 migrant workers living in dormitories in Singapore will be tested systematically in order to determine that they can go back to work.

Mrs Teo explained that there are many Covid-19 cases in the country because of the large number of tests being performed, something few other countries have done.

Comprehensive testing is all part of the plan to help companies begin operations again safely, she added. But because of it, the number of infections is expected to remain high.

This should not cause people to “be overly alarmed”, she wrote.  “To me, it is better to test, so that we know what we’re dealing with and can then take the right actions.”

While some people praised Mrs Teo and offered words of support, the majority were unhappy and even angry with how the MOM had handled the situation.

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One person recalled comments, in the early days of the outbreak, by Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan in a CNBC interview. She points out that the interview was held before the dorm “explosion” and offers no prize “for guessing who is the weakest link”.

Another urged the minister to “call a spade a spade”.

Aside from Mrs Teo, the operators of dormitories also appeared to be in the crosshairs of those responding to her post. 

And some begged to differ about being “overly alarmed”, underlining that this is an issue of public health after all. For them, the issue of the high number of infections means a strain on health care systems, which means others may not get the health care they need.

One person simply asked whether the methods being employed to curb the spread of infections have been effective.

And then there are those who believe that an apology is in order

One person addressed her remark about foreign workers in other countries.

Mrs Teo added in her post that the inter-agency joint task force would outline “Safe Living and Safe Working” measures for foreign workers on Friday (May 15). /TISG

Read also: If the MRT was once Khaw Boon Wan’s nightmare, the dormitories are now Josephine Teo’s

If the MRT was once Khaw Boon Wan’s nightmare, the dormitories are now Josephine Teo’s






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