Singapore

Three university hostels designated as quarantine facilities

Allocated government quarantine facilities here, such as chalets and university hostels, can accommodate about 1,000 people should there be a need to do so.

At a press conference yesterday, Education Minister Ong Ye Kung said three university hostels have been designated as government quarantine facilities, as Singapore fights the spread of the Wuhan virus.

"I apologise to the students for the inconvenience and seek their understanding. This is part of our national response," he said.

"I think as part of this national response, we just want to get the facilities ready.

"We hope it won't happen, but should there be more contact tracing and more confirmed cases, we will need the facilities."

The affected student quarters include some of the blocks at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Prince George's Park Residences, the Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) Graduate Hall 1 and the Singapore Management University's Prinsep Street Residences.

Mr Ong said he did not have the exact number of students affected by the move.

He added that a few more hostels will be affected, and his ministry will make a separate announcement in time to come.

Yesterday, students were seen packing their belongings and lugging bulky bags and suitcases out of living quarters at the universities, after the schools issued notices demanding they vacate their rooms n less than 24 hours.

Several blocks at the NUS' Prince George's Park Residences have been designated a quarantine centre, according to a notice seen by The Straits Times.

In a notice sent out on Sunday, the university sought the cooperation of students in Residence 2, which comprises blocks 5, 6, 7 and 8, to vacate their rooms no later than 11am yesterday.

When ST visited the student housing estate early yesterday, students were busy moving out of their rooms.

One Malaysian undergraduate, who has stayed at block 6 for the past six months, said residents received an e-mail about the eviction around 2pm on Sunday.

SHOCKED

"Many of us were shocked because when we moved in, we were not informed of the possibility that our blocks would be turned into a quarantine site," he said, adding that some students are still away for the Chinese New Year weekend.

These facilities will be thoroughly cleaned. Some cleaners interviewed told ST that they were called back on the third day of Chinese New Year, to clean the rooms.

In the letter to affected students, Mr Sng Jin Soon, director of the university's Office of Housing Services, said: "Your swift cooperation and understanding will afford the Prince George's Park Residences team sufficient time to carry out cleaning/sterilisation of the room before letting the person under quarantine to move in."

MEDICAL & HEALTH