Singaporeans Told to Expect More Virus Testing, Surveillance


Singapore said it will conduct more targeted testing and surveillance operations to curb a coronavirus outbreak.

“Special ops” such as testing all residents in a particular housing apartment block, will help detect and isolate people early, including those who show few or no symptoms and would otherwise be missed, Health Minister Ong Ye Kung said in a Facebook post Sunday.

In recent weeks, the government has conducted special testing operations for clusters that broke out at airports, shopping malls and schools, extending free checks to tens of thousands of people. Two public housing blocks will have all residents screened after several cases were found in each of them, the government said Sunday.

Two shopping centers on the western part of the island will be closed for two weeks starting Sunday after 10 Covid-19 infections were recently linked to the properties, authorities said. Four were detected from testing operations that were offered to those who were at the mall earlier this month, according to a statement on Saturday.

“Our epidemiological investigations have found that there is likely ongoing transmission among individuals who visited these malls,” the health ministry said. “To break any potential chain of transmission and enable deep cleaning of the premises, JEM and Westgate shopping malls will be closed to all members of the public.”

Ong also addressed concerns that cases of vaccinated people getting infected means there’s little benefit in getting inoculated against Covid-19. In the current outbreak, 78 vaccinated individuals had been infected, many of whom are frontline workers, he said. That compares with 300 unvaccinated infections, Ong said.

“International studies continue to show that vaccinations are very effective in preventing infections, and severe illnesses,” he said.

Singapore preliminarily confirmed 22 new cases of locally transmitted Covid-19 infection as of 12 p.m. on Sunday, three of which are untraceable, according to a statement from the health ministry. There were three imported cases, according to the ministry.

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