Did Case 616 from PAP’s decision to allow in M’sian workers just trigger the lockdown in Singapore?

On 16 March 2020, the Malaysian government announced that it was imposing a lockdown (the Movement Control Order or MCO) within the country and closing its borders. This was due to a spike of new infections there.

The following day, in reaction to the MCO, Singapore’s Ministry of Manpower said: “The Government is looking into providing financial support for companies that need to urgently accommodate their affected workers, and will release more details shortly.”

It subsequently decided to pay $50 per Malaysian worker per day for accommodation for 14 days, the announced duration of the MCO.

That same day, the SDP warned: “Tens of thousands of workers, many of whom may already be infected with the virus but show no symptoms, are crossing the causeway into Singapore undetected. It may take a couple of weeks more before their health deteriorate by which time they may have spread the disease even wider among Singaporeans.”

Since then, it has been found that a 39-year-old Malaysian worker (Case 616) was tested positive for Covid-19 on 25 March. His travel history says ‘Malaysia’ and his case is confirmed as ‘Imported’. 

In its press release on 2 April, MOH wrote: “Five of the newly confirmed cases (Cases 1001, 1015, 1024, 1026 and 1046) are linked to six previous cases (Cases 616, 788, 866, 908, 911 and 938), forming a new cluster at Mustafa Centre.” (emphasis added) Case 616 is the first case of this new cluster.  

Question 1: Can MOH confirm that Case 616 is an employee of Mustafa or was he a visitor to the centre?

Case 616 is presumed to have spread the virus, directly or indurectly, to the staff and anyone who may have visited the centre, including 25 Singaporeans who were among the infected cluster: Cases 788, 866, 911, 1001, 1024, 1180, 1188, 1189, 1201, 1209, 1214, 1246, 1282, 1295, 1315, 1316, 1326, 1343, 1361, 1385, 1387, 1417, 1443, 1528, and 1742.

As of 9 April, there was a total of 57 confirmed cases linked to the cluster at Mustafa.

(The information presented in this article can be verified at the MOH website.)

Many of the cases emanated from there, including those ravaging the dormitories of foreign workers. The result is a horrendous spike of 287 new cases just on 9 April alone and 1,565 cases in the last three weeks.

In addition, among the Mustafa cluster are two students: Cases 1189 (age 15) and 1200 (age 10, Permanent Resident).

Question 2: What schools did these two students attend?

Given this chain of events, it is apparent that Case 616, the Malaysian worker who had come into Singapore, had sparked the current crisis spread. The Straits Times (10 April) reported: “Mustafa Centre believed to be starting point for hundreds of cases”.

As a result, the PAP has had to impose a lockdown in Singapore, euphemistically calling in a “Circuit Breaker”, where schools are suspended, non-essential workplaces are closed, and the general movement of Singaporeans restricted.

Not only has this created a huge problem for Singaporeans in terms of our daily lives and livelihoods, but it will also inflict extensive damage to our economy. (Nevertheless, we urge everyone to obey the rules and stay home.)

The PAP must address this matter in full. More importantly, it must not ignore the warnings of the people and the SDP in future.

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