KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — Singapore will return regular testing for workers living in dormitories and those in the construction, marine and process sectors who have recovered from Covid-19.
Starting from April 29, these workers will be enrolled back on the country’s rostered routine testing (RRT) — which is a Covid-19 screening programme that requires workers in targeted sectors to undergo a swab test every 14 days — once they have passed 270 days from the date of past coronavirus infection.
Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) said in a statement yesterday that it is undertaking this measure when 17 workers who recovered from Covid-19 tested positive for the coronavirus again as of yesterday following special testing operations, after a 35-year-old migrant worker living in Westlite Woodlands Dormitory tested on April 20 as part of the RRT regime showed a positive result.
Channel News Asia reported MOH director of medical services Kenneth Mak as saying that the 35-year-old, who had already received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, had the South African B.1.351 variant.
Mak was quoted saying that none of the other 17 workers who were found to be Covid-19 positive again had been vaccinated before.
“MOH, together with NCID (National Centre for Infectious Diseases) and an expert panel comprising of infectious diseases and microbiology experts, is investigating for possible re-infection or if they are persistent shedders from their earlier infection. The number of actual re-infection cases will be announced when ready,” MOH said in a statement.
Singapore’s MOH said it found no evidence that the recent Covid-19 cases at the Westlite Woodlands Dormitory were linked to the new variant from India, but noted that many arrivals from India were workers in the construction, marine and process sectors.
As such, from 11.59pm today, all long-term pass holders and short-term visitors with recent travel history (including transit) to India within the last 14 days will not be allowed entry into Singapore, or transit through Singapore. This will also apply to all those who had obtained prior approval for entry into Singapore.
Travellers with recent travel history to India who had yet to complete their 14-day home quarantine by last night will need to complete their additional seven-day isolation at quarantine centres, instead of their place of residence.
India yesterday reported the world’s highest 24-hour tally of 314,835 new Covid-19 cases. The huge surge of coronavirus cases in India’s second wave, which has begun to overwhelm its hospitals, is partly attributed to a new strain, called the “double mutation”, that is believed to be more transmissible.