After China and India, Singapore becomes Asia's most infected nation
Singapore has now become the third-worst coronavirus-hit country in Asia after China and India—the world's two most populous nations. The total number of coronavirus infections in Singapore surpassed Japan's tally as the city-state reported over 14,000 cases on Monday. The nation's Health Ministry said that most of those newly infected are migrant workers and not permanent residents or citizens. Here are more details.
As of 12 pm (local time) on Monday, Singapore's Ministry of Health preliminarily confirmed 799 new cases, including 14 Singaporeans/permanent residents. Most of the others infected are migrant workers residing in dormitories, the Ministry said in a statement, adding that further details will be furnished later. Out of the 931 new cases reported on Sunday, only 15 cases were said to be Singaporeans/permanent residents.
Despite the city-state's early success in dealing with the coronavirus, the number of infections shot up as the virus spread through dormitories housing migrant workers. Notably, the migrant workers live in tight shared spaces in these dormitories, making social distancing impossible. Tens of thousands of workers remain quarantined at these facilities, where they continue to live in close quarters, risking infection.
Singapore's cases have now surpassed Japan, which has reported 13,385 cases with 364 deaths. Singapore has a total population of 5.7 million, including 4 million Singaporeans and permanent residents. Japan is home to 126 million people.
With the recent spike in cases, the coronavirus is expected to impact Singapore's economy more greatly than previously imagined. An earlier forecast estimated an economic slump of roughly 4%. Singapore's Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said Thursday that the city-state is "very likely" to witness a steeper fall in its GDP. The lockdown in Singapore has now been extended till June 1.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) was first reported in China's Wuhan late last year. It's caused by a novel coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. The virus attacks a host's respiratory system triggering symptoms such as fever, cough, and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, it may cause pneumonia, multiple organ failure, or death. COVID-19 has spread to over 170 countries, killing over 2 lakh and sickening 29.7 lakh.