New Covid cluster in workers’ dormitory highlights Singapore’s back-to-work challenge

Fifty-eight new asymptomatic cases of Covid-19 have been linked to a cluster at a huge workers’ dormitory in Singapore, highlighting the challenges facing authorities as they try to restart construction safely.

Most cases at the Sungei Tengah Lodge (pictured) – a 10-block mega-dorm housing up to 25,000 workers, many in construction – were detected through the city state’s compulsory Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) regime, in which all foreign workers must have a swab test every 14 days.

Singapore experienced a late surge in coronavirus cases, but it was predominantly among its 387,000 foreign workers in the construction, marine and process sectors, many of whom live in dormitories.

The state’s Building Construction Authority (BCA) said today that the Ministry of Manpower has issued stay-home notices to around 4,800 workers as it tries to sort infected workers from those who are uninfected or recovered.

Government faces an extra challenge getting construction and other companies to register with the RRT testing regime.

In order to go back to work, workers must have had a swab test in the last 14 days by 5 September.

On Saturday, the government said some 102,000 workers had not yet been scheduled for RRT in one of 18 sites set up around the island for testing.

The BCA is taking action against those who don’t engage.

On Saturday it said it had rescinded work approvals for some 280 workers for failing to undergo RRT despite multiple reminders.

Image: Sungei Tengah Lodge is a 10-block mega-dorm housing up to 25,000 workers, many in construction (

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