Infection highest in service sector as focus falls on foreign workers

AN analysis of Thailand’s coronavirus patients shows that the majority are from the service sector while the government is also moving to scan foreign workers after seeing a big jump of infections among Singapore’s migrant workers, PostToday reported this afternoon (21.4.2020).

Dr Taweesilp Visanuyothin, spokesman for the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said this analysis shows that the number of Covid-19 patients in the service sector totaled 395, followed by 308 cases among private business operators, 235 factory workers, 176 entertainment workers and 164 students.

The centre is also focusing on Singapore which now has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia, a massive increase from just 200 infections on March 15, when its outbreak appeared to be nearly under control.

The big jump there has been among the foreign workers with 330,000 living in 43 dormitories with 12 to 20 persons sharing a room.

Straits Times reported that the Singaporean Ministry of Health has confirmed 1,111 new Covid-19 cases as of noon on Tuesday (April 21), as cases crossed the 9,000 mark.

Among the new cases, 20 are Singaporeans and permanent residents, while foreign workers living in dormitories continue to drive the increase.

“They are using the lockdown measure, workers not allowed to move to other dormitories, but they are being paid their wages while locked down.

“There are separate clinics to treat these workers and those who have recovered, about 2,000 of them, have been housed on boats floating in the sea,” Dr Taweesilp said.

He added that Thailand has to learn a lesson from Singapore because this country also has a large number of foreign workers.

The Public Health Ministry and local agencies will now start scanning places these foreign workers live and work in to check the cleanliness and emphasis social distancing. Moreover foreign public health workers and volunteers will be recruited to help out.


SJ Dormitory in Singapore’s Woodlands is one of the workers’ dormitories linked to new clusters on April 16, 2020. Photo: Straits Times by Alphonsus Chern

TNR staff
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