Singapore quarantines more than 1,100 migrant workers and investigates reinfections

Singapore is quarantining more than 1,100 migrant workers after about a dozen COVID-19 cases were found in a dormitory and investigating the possibility of reinfection among those recovered from the virus.

More than 1,100 dormitory workers will be quarantined at government facilities for 14 days, the dorm’s operator said in a letter to customers circulated on social media.

Centurion Corp (CNCL.SI), owner of the Westlite Woodlands dormitory, confirmed the letter’s authenticity.

Authorities conducted COVID-19 tests on dorm room residents after an employee found positive during routine tests on Tuesday.

The employee had received a second vaccination dose a week earlier and his roommate also tested positive.

To date, at least 10 recovered workers have tested positive for COVID-19.

“These cases were immediately isolated and transferred to the National Center for Infectious Diseases (NCID) to investigate for possible reinfection,” the ministry of personnel said in a statement released Wednesday.

A Reuters reporter saw about 10 buses near the dormitory on Thursday, bringing dozens of men out of the complex.

Most of Singapore’s more than 60,000 COVID-19 cases occurred in dormitories with tens of thousands of mostly South Asian low-paid workers, causing the property to be locked down last year.

Singapore has largely brought the virus under control locally and is also conducting vaccinations. It last reported more than 10 cases in a single day among dormitories in September, with hardly any new infections in recent months.

The Department of Health has previously said vaccines were effective in preventing symptomatic illnesses, but further research was needed to see if they could also prevent further transmission.

Concerns are growing about new variants of the virus and the effectiveness of existing vaccines against them.

While the potential for reinfection existed, these cases came earlier than expected, said Hsu Li Yang, an infectious disease expert at the National University of Singapore.

The workers in the dormitory are still largely separated from the rest of the population and are usually only allowed to leave their homes for work.

Meanwhile, Singapore’s Transport Ministry said it hoped a long-delayed bubble with Hong Kong would come soon, but no date had yet been set. read more

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