Lawrence Wong on spike in dorm cases: 'Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of the benefit of hindsight'

Wong said that it was a very unpredictable situation.

Tanya Ong | April 09, 2020, 08:47 PM

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"Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of the benefit of hindsight."

In a press conference on Apr. 9, Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said that if he had known about how cases in foreign worker dormitories would later "explode" into big clusters, he would have done things differently.

Wong was responding to a question asking if there anything that could have been done to avoid having to quarantine thousands of migrant workers.

Cases in dormitories becoming large clusters

"The virus is moving so quickly. If I'd known, I would have done things differently. But no one can tell the next step."

Wong said that it was a very "unpredictable" situation where the virus spreads very quickly.

He pointed out that previously, there have been cases in foreign worker dormitories. However, they "never exploded into big clusters."

"But this time it happened," he said.

Wong also explained that a single lapse by an individual who continues to go to work, and interact with others, can easily end up spreading the virus to many others.

He emphasised a need for a proper system to screen these foreign workers, and separate the sick from the healthy.

To contain the spread of the virus across the dormitories, Wong said that they have to put in all the resources they can muster.

Covid-19 update on Apr. 9

On Apr. 9, the Ministry of Health announced a record 287 new cases of Covid-19 infections in Singapore. This is the highest daily jump to date.

Over 200 of the new cases are linked to foreign workers residing in dormitories.

At a press conference on Apr. 9, Director of Medical Services Kenneth Mak also announced that they have established preliminary links between the Mustafa cluster, the Project Glory construction site, and five foreign worker dormitories (including S11 Dormitory).

The total number of cases in Singapore stands at 1,910, as of 12pm on Apr. 9.

Top image via CNA Live and MOM.