Singapore locks down 20,000 foreign workers amid jump in Covid-19 cases

Singapore yesterday locked down two large dormitories housing just under 20,000 foreign workers – including construction workers – as the country recorded a spike in locally transmitted cases of Covid-19.

"Today, there is a large jump in the number of new cases, many of them linked to two foreign workers’ dormitories," Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong wrote on Facebook on 5 April.

"The two dorms have been gazetted as isolation areas and additional control measures have been implemented to reduce further transmission, to ensure the well-being of our foreign workers."

A record 120 additional Covid-19 cases were confirmed by the Ministry of Health (MOH) yesterday, only four of whom were people just arrived.

The affected dormitories are the S11 Dormitory at Punggol, which houses 13,000 workers, and the Westlite Toh Guan dormitory (pictured), which houses 6,800 workers, the MOH said.

They will be in lockdown for 14 days.

The move comes ahead of a wider lockdown in Singapore starting tomorrow, branded as a "circuit breaker" amid the pandemic.

"It is sobering news, but we had expected this possibility," the prime minister wrote of the spike in cases.

"It was one reason we decided to do the circuit breaker from Tuesday. With people staying away from workplaces, students on full home-based learning, and everyone following tighter safe distancing rules, the new cases should gradually slow down, and we should get into a better position."

Medical support has been deployed to the two dormitories, along with essential medical supplies.

Workers will get three meals a day, and their absence from work will be treated as paid hospitalisation.

Their employers are eligible to claim for the S$100 daily quarantine allowance, said MOH.

Image: The Westlite Toh Guan foreign-workers’ dormitory, Singapore (

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