Surge in migrant worker Covid-19 cases continues as Singapore’s total tops 10,000 – dpa international

dpa

Outside Lucky Plaza in Singapore, a meeting place for Filipino workers living in the city-state (Simon Roughneen)

Outside Lucky Plaza in Singapore, a meeting place for Filipino workers living in the city-state (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Singapore’s Ministry of Health reported 1,016 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday, taking the national total to 10,141.

All but 15 of the new cases were described by the ministry as “work permit holders residing in foreign worker dormitories.”

Almost all cases reported during April have been in the dormitories: purpose-built residences where around 200,000 of Singapore’s 1.4 million foreign workers live.

Wednesday is the third day in succession that Singapore has confirmed over a thousand new cases.

On Tuesday, in response to the spike, the government extended until June 1 a lockdown imposed on April 7 and labelled a “circuit breaker.”

Though the government has promised to treat migrant workers fairly, Minister for Manpower Josephine Teo said on Tuesday that most will be prohibited from leaving their crowded compounds during the lockdown, except for 10,000 who have tested negative for Covid-19 and are employed in what the government deems “essential services.”

A wealthy city-state of 5.8 million people, Singapore’s reported Covid-19 caseload has surged above much-bigger neighbours, increasing tenfold since the start of the month after the government went about what it describes as “aggressive” testing in the dormitories.

Next-door Indonesia, with an estimated population touching on 270 million people, has confirmed 7,418 cases, while the Philippines, another neighbouring country that is home to over 100 million people, has 6,710 cases.

At 11, Singapore’s death toll among people infected with the virus is one of the world’s lowest, far below Indonesia’s 635 and the Philippines’ 446.

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