COVID-19 tally may be higher than official: Singapore

Singapore says COVID-19 cases may be higher than official tallies

A medical worker performs a nose swab test on a migrant worker at a dormitory amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore, April 28, 2020. Credit: Reuters Photo

Singapore's top medical authority said on Tuesday the number of migrant workers infected with coronavirus may be higher than official tallies due to a priority to isolate those staying in dormitories with mass outbreaks.

The Southeast Asian island nation of 5.7 million people has nearly 15,000 confirmed coronavirus infections, one of the highest totals in Asia, largely because of outbreaks in cramped dormitories housing more than 300,000 mostly South Asian workers.

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"When we report figures ... of confirmed and verified infections, the number of foreign workers that are in the dormitories that we are keeping a close eye on with respiratory symptoms may in fact be bigger than the actual number that we report," the health ministry's director of medical services Kenneth Mak said.

Mak said any discrepancy in the official numbers would eventually be ironed out as these workers would be tested before they could leave isolation and return to work. 

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