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Int J Infect Dis ; 103: 389-394, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-957128


BACKGROUND: Migrant worker dormitories-residential complexes where 10-24 workers share living spaces-account for the majority of cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Singapore. To prevent overspill of transmission to the wider population, starting in early April 2020, residents were confined to their dormitories while measures were put in place to arrest the spread of infection. This descriptive study presents epidemiological data for a population of more than 60 000 migrant workers living in two barracks-style and four apartment-style dormitories located in western Singapore from April 3 to June 10, 2020. METHODS: Our report draws from data obtained over the first 50 days of outbreak management in order to describe SARS-CoV-2 transmission in high-density housing environments. Cumulative counts of SARS-CoV-2 cases and numbers of housing units affected were analyzed to report the harmonic means of harmonic means of doubling times and their 95% confidence intervals (CI). RESULTS: Multiple transmission peaks were identified involving at least 5467 cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection across six dormitories. Our geospatial heat maps gave an early indication of outbreak severity in affected buildings. We found that the number of cases of SARS-CoV-2 infection doubled every 1.56 days (95% CI 1.29-1.96) in barracks-style buildings. The corresponding doubling time for apartment-style buildings was 2.65 days (95% CI 2.01-3.87). CONCLUSIONS: Geospatial epidemiology was useful in shaping outbreak management strategies in dormitories. Our results indicate that building design plays an integral role in transmission and should be considered in the prevention of future outbreaks.

COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/transmission , Housing , Transients and Migrants , Adult , COVID-19/prevention & control , Disease Outbreaks/prevention & control , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore/epidemiology , Spatio-Temporal Analysis , Young Adult
BMJ Glob Health ; 5(9)2020 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-772191


Singapore, one of the first countries affected by COVID-19, adopted a national strategy for the pandemic which emphasised preparedness through a whole-of-nation approach. The pandemic was well contained initially until early April 2020, when there was a surge in cases, attributed to Singapore residents returning from hotspots overseas, and more significantly, rapid transmission locally within migrant worker dormitories. In this paper, we present the response of Singapore to the COVID-19 pandemic based on core dimensions of health system resilience during outbreaks. We also discussed on the surge in cases in April 2020, highlighting efforts to mitigate it. There was: (1) clear leadership and governance which adopted flexible plans appropriate to the situation; (2) timely, accurate and transparent communication from the government; (3) public health measures to reduce imported cases, and detect as well as isolate cases early; (4) maintenance of health service delivery; (5) access to crisis financing; and (6) legal foundation to complement policy measures. Areas for improvement include understanding reasons for poor uptake of government initiatives, such as the mobile application for contact tracing and adopting a more inclusive response that protects all individuals, including at-risk populations. The experience in Singapore and lessons learnt will contribute to pandemic preparedness and mitigation in the future.

Coronavirus Infections , Delivery of Health Care , Health Planning , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Humans , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Singapore , Transients and Migrants