Singapore’s virus caseload tops 25,000 with more migrants infected – dpa international


A Singapore mall popular with expats from the Philippines (Simon Roughneen)

A Singapore mall popular with expats from the Philippines (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Singapore’s Health Ministry on Wednesday announced 675 new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, taking the national total to 25,346.

Almost all the wealthy city-state’s cases are among low-wage foreign workers confined to dozens of crowded dormitories.

Health Ministry data published on Tuesday showed 22,334 dormitory cases, while on Wednesday the ministry added that “the vast majority” of the day’s new cases are in the workers’ accommodation.

Singapore aims to test all 323,000 dormitory residents – mostly young men working in sectors such as construction and hailing from countries including Bangladesh, Indonesia and Myanmar.

Despite having East Asia’s second-highest caseload after China, Singapore has reported only 21 fatalities related to Covid-19, one of the lowest death tolls caused by a pandemic that has killed almost 300,000 people worldwide.

So-called “community cases” – infections outside the dormitories – have dropped to single figures in recent days.

“We are steadily making progress in controlling the outbreak, both in the community as well as the migrant worker dormitories,” said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong on Tuesday.

The government permitted barbershops to reopen on Tuesday and said it plans further relaxations of a lockdown – officially a “circuit breaker” – which was imposed five weeks ago and will run until June 1.

Though the government expects the total number of cases among migrant workers to be “high,” 20,000 “will be ready for discharge” by the end of the month, Wong said.

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