HongKong

Ong Ye Kung: Conditions are right for Singapore-Hong Kong travel bubble to take off

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SINGAPORE – While there have been recent cases of Covid-19 in the community and in foreign worker dormitories, the numbers should be put in perspective, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said on Monday (April 26).

He cited four of the five community cases announced on Saturday as crew members working on refueling ships. “It was not a community case because they were running around the community. They were on a specific vessel that was restricted to our port area,” he said.

Regarding the 19 workers at Westlite Woodlands accommodation who tested positive for Covid-19 last week, the Minister noted that there had been no new cases in the past few days. “So it’s a consolation that hopefully these dorm cases don’t go beyond that.”

For now, conditions are right for an air travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong to take off on May 26 if conditions remain stable next month, Mr Wong said.

In an interview with the Ministry of Transport, he answered a question about whether now is a good time to boost the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble.

The minister noted that the community cases who worked on the bunkering vessel were classified as those who worked in the Singapore port area.

“Bunker ships are like gas stations floating around our ports, refueling the different ships coming into our ports,” he said.

“There were cases on this ship, all the crew members were tested and four more people on the same ship tested positive. But all the crew members were on board during this time. They never came into our community.”

The Westlite Woodlands dormitory cluster was discovered after a 35-year-old Bangladeshi worker tested positive for Covid-19 during regular worker testing.

One of his housemates, who are considered a close contact, tested positive for Covid-19 while in isolation.

Seventeen other workers who had previously recovered from the virus were also subsequently found to be positive for Covid-19.

Health authorities are currently investigating the cases to assess whether they have been reinfected, or are still spreading the virus from a previous infection.

Mr Wang noted that the discovery of the first case was due to a “strong monitoring system” in the dormitory.

He said Singapore conducts more than 30,000 Covid-19 tests a day, of which more than 20,000 tests are conducted in dormitories.

He added that Westlite Woodlands halls of residence were immediately locked down and 3,000 residents were tested for Covid-19.

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