SINGAPORE – The 19 workers from Westlite Woodlands dormitory who have been infected with Covid-19 are mostly from the marine sector, and a stop work order has been issued for their worksite, said Second Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng on Thursday (April 22).
Giving an update on the cases at the dormitory during a virtual press conference, Dr Tan said the authorities made three key moves to quickly isolate, detect and contain infections after a 35-year-old Bangladeshi migrant worker tested positive for the virus as part of his rostered routine testing on Tuesday.
First, around 30 of his close contacts at the dormitory and workplace were isolated, and placed on quarantine, he said.
One of the case’s close contacts – his roommate – tested positive for Covid-19 at a dedicated quarantine facility. The Health Ministry said this worker is employed by Prosper Environmental and Engineering as a construction supervisor, and works at Sembcorp Marine Admiralty Yard.
Second, a special testing operation at the dormitory was conducted as a precaution. Around 1,200 workers were tested and placed under quarantine.
As of Thursday, 17 workers who had recovered from Covid-19 have tested positive. None of the 17 have been vaccinated.
They were immediately isolated, and sent to the National Centre for Infectious Diseases (NCID) to investigate for possible re-infection, said Dr Tan.
“Clinical investigation is ongoing and NCID will need more time to establish if these are prolonged shedding from old infections or are re- infection cases,” he said, adding that investigations into the possible source of infection are ongoing. MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak on Thursday said the investigations could take up to two weeks to complete.
Following that, workers at the affected dormitory block were quarantined to prevent and contain the possible spread of infection in the dormitory.
The special testing operation was also extended to all workers in the entire dormitory.
Workers have been restricted from leaving the dormitory till testing results are out, Dr Tan added.
The Bangladeshi worker who was the first case detected at the dorm had showed symptoms despite having received his first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on March 12 and the second dose on April 13.
MOH has said he is likely to have been infected before the protection accorded by the vaccine kicked in, as it takes a few weeks for an individual’s immunity to build up after receiving the second jab.
“These re-emergences of cases in the dormitory remind us of the need to stay vigilant,” Dr Tan said.