A breakthrough by Singapore's Ministry of Health in tracking the coronavirus outbreak has found that the virus has spread to 14 of the 29 suspected cases and one confirmed case in the city-state.
The Singapore Globe reports that over the weekend, researchers from the National University Hospital tested 700 people they believe could have been infected by the coronavirus, including all 41 hospitalized for the virus, 17 of whom are still hospitalized.
The tests showed the presence of two new cases of the infection, prompting doctors to expand the monitoring of over a thousand patients. According to The Guardian, new tests on patients hospitalized at Tan Tock Seng Hospital tested positive for the virus. The tests screen the blood to see if it contains traces of the virus.
Health officials have not been able to determine which ethnicity the 13 patients are because some are being treated in Thai and Malaysian hospitals. The virus first began showing up in a 23-year-old Malaysian woman who was also being treated in the Hamilton Rehab Center in Singapore, but her symptoms died off after more than two weeks in hospital. The other six confirmed cases have been identified in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.
Here is the 50-second video of the man who had contracted the virus in Singapore:
On the BBC's China Report blog, Ranga Goel looked at why not just the wealthy nations are reporting such cases. Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, India, Pakistan, Ukraine, and Iran are all reporting cases but nowhere near as many cases as Singapore.
John Kelly writes that this outbreak illustrates the important international benefits of migrant workers and how governments will have to adapt to managing outbreaks like this one.
Many of these workers come from Southeast Asia (Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia) and don't speak the languages of their destination countries and don't seem to have many close relatives living in the countries where they work, like Singapore. Part of that is because they may not have moved that far away. Some of it could be because they might not have traveled long distances and have not been in a lot of contact with colleagues or family members.
Some of the time, they may even have traveled from one island to another without working and returning home. Sometimes they are in the country without ever setting foot outside of it.
But even those workers, many of whom come from the poor countries of Asia, face other threats. They can't go into the country and ask questions about the procedures for dealing with a disease outbreak and there will be fears that a worker might inadvertently make themselves or someone else sick or worse.
The ministry of health in Singapore has announced there will be no more short-term worker screening in the neighboring countries of Malaysia and Singapore. Kelly says that's the right approach. But migrants who come back into the country and have a job are often treated the same as residents and don't even have to be screened by health officials.