COVID 19 in migrant workers: lessons from Singapore

Melinda Sun, Janie Dade Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalNewsletter ArticleResearch


SINGAPORE was one of the first countries to report confirmed cases of COVID-19, on 23 January 2020. The Singaporean government’s model response to the COVID-19 outbreak successfully resulted in no evidence of community transmission by mid-February.

By 1 April, there were 1000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore, with small clusters reported in three dormitories of migrant workers. By 27 August, the number of COVID-19 cases in Singapore rose significantly to over 56 500, with 94.52% of these cases attributed to infections of migrant workers living in dormitories. According to Singapore’s Ministry of Health, there are 323 000 migrant workers living in dormitories, thus the prevalence of COVID-19 among this population is 16.55%. This is compared with a prevalence of 0.03% among the general Singaporean population, defined as the total population minus the number of migrant workers living in dormitories. This article provides an insight into factors, such as government policies, that may have contributed to the significant COVID-19 infection rates among migrant workers living in dormitories in Singapore


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