Singapore University Hostels To Become Quarantine Centres For Suspected Wuhan Virus Patients

On 24 Jan, The Straits Times (ST) reported that the Singapore government is turning 3 chalets into quarantine centres to contain the spread of the Wuhan Coronavirus.

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A few days later on Monday (27 Jan), ChannelNewsAsia (CNA) reported that 3 Singapore university hostels will follow suit, to prepare for the potential crisis.

Students returning to their dorms after the long Chinese New Year (CNY) break had to hurry, as they quickly moved out to clear the area.

NUS, NTU & SMU hostels turned into Wuhan quarantine centres

Education Minister Ong Ye Kung announced in a press conference yesterday (27 Jan) that a hostel from each of these 3 local universities will be turned into quarantine centres:

  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Nanyang Technological University (NTU)
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)

The hostels are being cleaned up, ready to be repurposed into government quarantine centres, according to CNA.

The affected hostels are:

NUS’  Prince George’s Park Residences

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NTU’s Graduate Hall 1

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SMU’s  83 Prinsep Street

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Mr Ong also mentioned that all students residing in these hostels will get a different room at a separate hostel on campus.

Local SMU students to return home

Adding on, Mr Ong shared that NUS and NTU have enough hostel space to hold all the students moving out of the affected hostels.

However, since hostel spaces in SMU are limited, Mr Ong encourages local students to return home for the night, giving priority to international students instead.

He explained that,

SMU is in the city centre, so I hope it will not pose too much of an inconvenience.

SMU’s convenient location is easily accessible for most local students, so the changes shouldn’t be too drastic.

Students given less than a day to move out

CNA reported that students living at the affected SMU hostel had less than 5 hours to pack their belongings and move out on Sunday (26 Jan).

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In an interview with CNA, an SMU student shared that boxes were provided for them “pack up all (their) stuff”.

Separately, students from NUS were given until 11am yesterday (27 Jan) to move out of their hostels.

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Speaking to CNA, several NUS students expressed their unhappiness as they had less than a day to clear everything and vacate their hostels.

In addition, the students complained about the state of their new hostel as the rooms are still being refurbished.

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They are also concerned about residing too near to the quarantine blocks, CNA reported.

Hoping for the best

Apologising for the inconvenience, turning local university hostels into quarantine centres is part of the national response, Mr Ong mentioned.

He added that should there be more contact tracing and confirm cases, the quarantine centres will be used. Hence,

It is better now before it happens that we get the facilities ready.

So kudos to the government for preparing ahead of time, and keeping everyone’s well-being in mind.

Featured image adapted from SQ Feed Journal