Singapore

MOH, MOM apologise for delay in worker’s positive test result

This article is more than 12 months old

The Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) have apologised for informing a migrant worker that he had tested positive for Covid-19 only three weeks after he was swabbed, citing an "administrative error" while he was tested.

But there was no impact on the "appropriateness of the clearance strategy" for Toh Guan Dormitory - where the worker was staying with 11 roommates - or the treatment and care of all the workers there, the ministries said in a joint statement yesterday.

The ministries were responding to media queries over Facebook posts made by Ms Tsjin Chandra Dolly and Ms Kelly Soh last Wednesday. The Straits Times understands that Ms Tsjin, Ms Soh and the worker belong to the same company.

In their separate posts, Ms Tsjin and Ms Soh said the worker was informed only last Monday that he had tested positive for Covid-19. The worker had undergone the swab test on June 22, Ms Soh said.

Both women said they were told by MOH last Monday that the ministry required 24 hours to arrange for the worker to be moved out of the dormitory room. But nothing was arranged by last Wednesday and the worker continued to stay in the same room with his 11 roommates, they said.

MOH and MOM said Toh Guan Dormitory has been under isolation since April 6.

Before the ministries began clearing the dormitory, survey tests were conducted on a sample of workers across the dormitory on June 22.

This was to assess the extent of the spread, and to develop the most appropriate strategy for clearing the dormitory, the ministries said.

The worker and his 11 roommates were tested, along with some other residents in the dormitory.

The survey test for the 12 workers, which was pooled as several swabs were added together and tested as a group, came back positive.

The ministries said the survey tests were not individualised test results to be used to clear the workers of infection.

But an administrative error in the "conduct of the pool-test" for the worker was discovered, in that the test contained only his swab, said MOH and MOM.

The worker's test was therefore actually an individual test instead of a pool-test.

"We have since reached out to the employer to explain the situation," the ministries added.

coronavirus