SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Singapore will complete testing for COVID-19 cases among migrant workers living in dormitories by Aug. 7, about four months after authorities started quarantining tens of thousands of workers in their quarters due to mass outbreaks of the disease.
The vast majority of Singapore’s 49,375 cases are from cramped dormitories that house more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.
As of July 20, there were 247,000 workers who had recovered or had been tested to be free from COVID-19, according to the manpower ministry’s website.
“By the first week of August, say around 7 August, we expect to clear all our dormitories,” said Lawrence Wong, a minister who co-chairs Singapore’s virus-fighting taskforce.
The government expects the number of new daily cases to be high for the coming two weeks as it completes testing in dormitories with a high prevalence of the disease, before tapering down thereafter.
While the city-state’s cases are expected to drop after the middle of August, authorities cautioned that the fight was not over, while a potential vaccine was unlikely to be available in Singapore until the end of next year.
“Given the global demand for these vaccines, it may not even be in the beginning of next year,” said the health ministry’s director of medical services Kenneth Mak.
“But perhaps towards the end of next year, when we might see vaccines produced in sufficient doses, and available then for procurement and to be delivered into Singapore.”
(Reporting by Aradhana Aravindan; Editing by Martin Petty)