About 250 Indians infected by coronavirus in Singapore
Singapore, Apr 10: About 250 Indians, with nearly half of them staying in close contact in the dormitories for foreign workers, have tested positive for the coronavirus in Singapore, the Indian High Commission here said on Friday.
Indian High Commissioner Jawed Ashraf told PTI that almost all of the Indians who have the disease are mostly stable or improving. He said that the about 250 Indian nationals, who are suffering from the disease, include some permanent residents.
Of the infected Indians, nearly 50 per cent are from dormitories for foreign workers, which have emerged as the disease spreading points in the country.
The first cases from the dormitories were reported on March 29, but the number of infections has climbed to 460, of which about 200 were confirmed on Thursday.
As the country has ramped up aggressive testing in the dormitories, the numbers are expected to climb in the next few days. Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the COVID-19 task force, said coronavirus cases in the foreign worker dormitories will continue to rise in the coming days and perhaps even in the coming weeks or so.
"But we do have a comprehensive strategy and measures are in place, and the agencies are now working round the clock to execute and implement them," The Straits Times quoted the Minister as saying on Friday. Noting that foreign workers will still be providing public services such as cleaning, Wong urged people not to be prejudiced against them. "It's not because of a foreign worker being inherently of higher risk - the risk of infection for the rest of us in the population is the same, regardless of nationality, regardless of race," he stressed.
Singapore authorities are working to improve the living conditions in dormitories and relocating workers in other accommodations, including empty Housing Development Board flats and Army facilities, according to local media reports.
Meanwhile, Indian High Commissioner Ashraf said that the post-mortem report of a 32-year-old Indian man, who died on April 8, confirmed that he passed away because of a heart condition and not due to the COVID-19 as reported earlier. The deceased was advised to stay at home after he underwent the coronavirus test on April 7.
As the international flights are suspended due to the lockdown in India, it would be difficult to immediately send back the deceased's body, an informed source said, adding Singapore authorities are expected to speak to the deceased's family. Singapore reported 287 cases of coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total of 1,910. So far, the country has reported only 6 deaths.