3/ I wrote this piece with journalists in #Taiwan and #HongKong before #Singapore was put on a partial lockdown, which our government insists on calling a "circuit breaker". In it, we detail the good moves made to keep #COVID19 contained: https://wethecitizens.substack.com/p/fighting-covid-19-in-singapore-taiwan
4/ After this piece was published, though, the wheels came off #Singapore's "gold standard" #COVID19 response. The day after the piece was published, two migrant worker dormitories in Singapore were gazetted under the Infectious Diseases Act as "isolation areas".
6/ There are about 323,000 migrant workers—from countries like Bangladesh, India, and China—living in dormitories in #Singapore. They generally live about 12 – 20 men in a room, making social distancing a concept they understand, but cannot practice. #COVID19
7/ Here comes another myth to dispel about #COVID19. There's a lot of talk about how heat weakens or even kills the virus. I don't know if that's true; it seems like there isn't enough evidence yet. But #Singapore's experience shows that heat is not a protector from the virus.
8/ Even if one argues that many Singaporeans are living with aircon, this isn't the case with the migrant worker dormitories, most of which do not have aircon. In my story, a worker tells me his room is unbearably hot. Yet #COVID19 is spreading. https://twitter.com/BrynnTannehill/status/1253652643416858624
9/ #Singapore is now facing an epic problem. It's simultaneously a public health issue, a humanitarian issue, a logistical issue, and an economic issue. #COVID19
10/ Over 80% of the #COVID19 cases in the country are migrant workers living in dormitories. In a move to try to contain this and prevent it from spreading to the rest of the population in #Singapore, the government has put all dorms on lockdown.
11/ 25 dormitories have been declared "isolation areas"—the men are confined to their rooms except for essentials like going to the bathroom. At mealtimes, a representative goes to collect food for the rest, and they eat in their rooms. Basically, the dorms are like prisons now.
12/ Locking down the dorms is one way to prevent #COVID19 spreading from the dorms to the rest of #Singapore, but the lockdown is not stopping #COVID19 from spreading *inside* the dorms. In the worst hit dorm, over 15% of 13,000 men have already tested positive.
14/ But it also doesn't end with moving workers. There's also testing, 'cos we need to identify those who are #COVID19 positive so we can isolate them and stop them from infecting others. But how many tests can #Singapore realistically do?
16/ The #COVID19 policy/strategy on testing migrant workers isn't very clear. Those of us who are trying to keep track and document are having a hard time figuring it out. When we ask the workers now stuck in dorms, we find that they aren't very clear about it either.
17/ So this is all one big nightmare that has consumed #Singapore's #COVID19 response. I mean, just look at that curve. ⬇️

(Chart from @sporemoh's April 23 situation report.)
18/ What should we learn from this? I think what we're seeing in #Singapore is that even if you do most things right, if you're not considering or proactively looking out for the most vulnerable and marginalised in your society, you're not going to effectively fight #COVID19.
20/ This isn't as simple as arguing over social distancing or lockdowns. And it's not a discussion of whether UV rays/heat kills #COVID19. #Singapore demonstrates that this is a complex problem that can quickly spin out of control if those in charge drop the ball.

- END-
P.S. For the love of God (any god) don't drink or inject disinfectant into yourselves. #COVID19 #StaySafe #StayHome
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