Asia: Migrant Workers a Largely Hidden Covid-19 Time Bomb

The surprise recent spike in Covid-19 infections, and then deaths, in Singapore has fixed the global spotlight on a subject many governments in Southeast Asia and elsewhere prefer to keep hidden in the shadows: the living and working conditions of their migrant workers.

Singapore had seemed to have the coronavirus pandemic all under control and was being held up alongside Taiwan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand as the countries that were most effectively “flattening the curve” of Covid-19 by using social distancing and softer self-monitoring lockdowns to slow the spread of the disease alongside higher testing to help early detection.

The migrant dormitories used by construction workers, street cleaners, sanitation workers and other workers in the less visible economy that kept the lights on and the wheels turning for the shiny front of the wealthy city-state had been — embarrassingly — something of a blind spot for Singapore authorities as they mapped out their response to the virus.

By April 10, Singapore had new cases down to below 100 a day; a week later, on April 16, new cases had spiked by 728 in a single day.

Source: UCANews

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