Migrant Worker Learns He Has Covid-19 Only 3 Weeks After Swab, MOM & MOH Apologise

MOM & MOH Apologise For Administrative Error

As Singapore frontline workers work tirelessly for months handling Covid-19 cases, delays and mistakes may occur due to the sheer amount of people being tested.

Just last week, a 13-year-old student was misdiagnosed with the virus. Tan Tock Seng Hospital has apologised since.

13-Year-Old Student Misdiagnosed With Covid-19, Actual Patient Admitted To NCID

This time, an “administrative error” caused a migrant worker to be informed by authorities of his positive Covid-19 test 3 weeks after being swabbed.

The delay in having the worker transferred to a medical facility sparked major concern, as 11 others living under the same roof with him were at high risk of infection.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) and Ministry of Health (MOH) have both apologised.

Netizen details frustrations over delays

A netizen Ms Soh took to Facebook last Wednesday (15 Jul), detailing the ordeal of the migrant worker’s situation at Toh Guan Dormitory.


From the post, we learnt that the migrant worker was sent for a swab test on 22 Jun. However, it was only on 13 Jul that he received an MOH text confirming that his results were positive.

Ms Soh shared that they’ve been calling MOH everyday since 13 Jul, but “no isolation was done”.

She also wrote how she had to go back and forth between MOH and the Multi-Ministry Task Force multiple times with no arrangements being done for the infected worker.

Frustrated, she expressed that the worker was “living in fear”, and worried that he would end up infecting 11 others living in the same room. She sought urgent advice for her next course of action.

MOH & MOM apologise for error

According to TODAY Online, MOM and MOH have apologised, saying it was an “administrative error” that caused the delay.

We apologise for the error and consequent delay in conveying the test results to [the worker] and to his employer. We have since reached out to the employer to explain the situation.

Here’s the gist of their explanation:

  • Infected worker was tested as part of a survey, where several swab tests are pooled together
  • Survey tests are different from individualised testing
  • Worker and his 11 roommates were selected for survey test
  • All tested positive for Covid-19

The administrative error happened when authorities realised the worker’s swab test was an individualised test, instead of being part of survey tests. Hence, the delay in notification.

Health of all 12 workers currently being monitored

Fortunately, the worker has recovered from the infection and was said to be asymptomatic.

His 11 roommates were also reportedly well throughout, and had no acute respiratory infection symptoms.

During this time, all 12 will continued to be cared for in their rooms. Medical staff will constantly monitor their pulse, temperature, and symptoms.

Thankfully, circumstances weren’t severe

Errors could come at a costly price. Thankfully in this case, the migrant worker could recover from his infection despite the delay.

As all 12 are currently receiving the medical attention needed, we wish all of them a speedy recovery.

Hopefully after this incident, MOM and MOH staff will take better care in handling Covid-19 tests as they are instrumental in curbing the outbreak in Singapore.

Featured image adapted from Facebook. For illustration purposes only.

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