Singapore is assessing whether migrant workers who have recovered from COVID-19 might be safer on cruise ships than back in dormitories that have become infection hotbeds, despite problems controlling onboard outbreaks encountered elsewhere.
The city-state has seen virus cases surge in sprawling housing complexes for foreign workers, recording its biggest ever jump in cases on Thursday, and is looking for new accommodation solutions for hundreds of workers.
About 60 percent of the 4,427 people infected on the island stay in dormitories, where mainly South Asian workers live 12 to 20 in a room, and share toilets in conditions some workers have said are unsanitary.
“Cruise ships are being considered as they have readily available rooms and en suite toilets to minimize person-to-person contact,” the city-state’s tourism board said in an e-mailed statement yesterday.
It said the measure could be rolled out for workers who have recovered from the novel coronavirus and tested negative, helping free up space in dormitories. Authorities are also moving some healthy workers from dorms into public housing, military camps and industrial ships used to accommodate offshore staff.
People rarely catch infectious diseases twice as they develop some immunity, medical experts say, though there have been isolated reports of such cases since the pandemic began in China in December last year.
Two ships owned by Genting Cruise Lines that could each accommodate up to 2,000 people were being checked to see if they had suitable ventilation systems, security protocols and infection control measures, the tourism board said.
Cruise ships have also been at the center of mass outbreaks during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 130,000 lives and infected more than 2 million people globally.
One of the most notable incidents involved the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined for nearly a month in Japan, with eventually more than 700 people becoming infected.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
COVID-19 UNDER CONTROL: The two prime ministers agreed to ease entry bans, and allow short-term business visits and reopen flights between Vietnam and Japan Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first overseas summit since taking office last month, yesterday agreed with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to step up defense and security cooperation in the face of China’s expanding influence in the region. In talks in Hanoi, Suga and Phuc set up a basic agreement allowing Japan to export defense equipment and technology to Vietnam. Japan has been pursuing such agreements to bolster ties with Southeast Asian nations and sustain its own defense industry. Suga said that his four-day trip to Vietnam and Indonesia would be key to pursuing the “free and open Indo-Pacific” vision
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity. Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016. Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since