Singapore Seemed to Have Coronavirus Under Control, Until Cases Doubled

新加坡病例激增,曾经的抗疫典范忽视了什么?

纽约时报双语版-新加坡病例激增,曾经的抗疫典范忽视了什么?

本月,新加坡一个宿舍里的外籍劳工。
Ore Huiying for The New York Times

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Singapore did almost everything right.

新加坡几乎做对了每件事。

After recording its first coronavirus case on Jan. 23, the prosperous city-state meticulously traced the close contacts of every infected patient, while keeping a sense of normalcy on its streets. Borders were shut to populations likely to carry the contagion, although businesses stayed open. Ample testing and treatment were free for residents.

1月23日出现了第一例新型冠状病毒病例后,这个繁荣的城市国家详细地追踪了与每一名感染者有过密切接触的人,同时保持了街道上的常态。尽管对可能携带病毒的人群关闭了边境,但企业照常运转。对居民进行了免费的大规模检测和治疗。

But over the past few days, Singapore’s coronavirus caseload has more than doubled, with more than 8,000 cases confirmed as of Monday, the highest in Southeast Asia. Most of the new infections are within crowded dormitories where migrant laborers live, unnoticed by many of the country’s richer residents and, it turns out, the government itself.

但在过去几天里,新加坡的感染者增加了一倍多,截至周一,确诊病例数超过了8000例,是东南亚国家中最高的。大多数新增病例都是在外来务工人员拥挤的宿舍里,这些人未受到新加坡许多富裕居民的注意,而事实证明,政府也忽视了他们。

The spread of the coronavirus in this tidy city-state suggests that it might be difficult for the United States, Europe and the rest of the world to return to the way they were anytime soon, even when viral curves appear to have flattened. Although countries can closely track contacts to try to keep an outbreak at bay as Singapore did, the coronavirus is sickening, killing and spreading with each passing day, leaving scientists and political leaders racing to catch up with its relentless pace and new dangers.

这个整洁的城市国家的疫情暗示出,即使感染曲线看起来已经在变平,但美国、欧洲和世界其他地方可能很难在短期内恢复到以前的正常生活。虽然各国可以像新加坡那样密切追踪接触者,努力控制疫情,但新冠病毒每天仍在致人患病、死亡,每天仍在传播,科学家和政治领导人仍在与未见减弱的传播速度及新的危险赛跑。

If anything, the trials of this intensely urban, hyper-international country hint at a global future in which travel is taboo, borders are shut, quarantines endure and industries like tourism and entertainment are battered. Weddings, funerals and graduation parties will have to wait. Vulnerable populations, such as migrants, cannot be ignored.

如果有任何代表性的话,那就是这个高度城市化、高度国际化的国家所经历的考验,暗示出了全球性的未来:旅行被禁止、边境关闭、隔离持续、旅游和娱乐等行业遭受重创。婚礼、葬礼和毕业派对将不得不推迟。移民等弱势群体不容忽视。

“We will also more and more adapt to the new normal,” said Josip Car, a top expert in population health sciences at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. “This is the likely future for the next 18 months minimum, this being the anticipated time to make a first vaccine available at scale.”

“我们也将越来越多地适应这种新常态,”新加坡南洋理工大学人口健康科学高级专家约瑟普·卡(Josip Car)说。“对今后至少18个月来说,这是一种可能的未来,大规模生产出第一批疫苗预计至少需要18个月的时间。”

With cases proliferating, Singapore abandoned its strategy of maintaining a semblance of normal life. Schools were closed on April 8, and residents are now required to wear face masks in public. Hundreds of thousands of foreign workers have been quarantined in their cramped quarters, with testing among them turning up hundreds of new cases a day.

随着病例的激增,新加坡放弃了维持正常生活表象的策略。学校已于4月8日停课,居民现在被要求在公共场所佩戴口罩。成千上万的外国工人被隔离在拥挤的宿舍里,对他们进行病毒检测,每天都会发现数百个新病例。

纽约时报双语版-新加坡病例激增,曾经的抗疫典范忽视了什么?

上个月,新加坡著名的天空树公园几乎空无一人。
Ore Huiying for The New York Times

“I am very scared, of course,” said Monir, a worker from Bangladesh who is not allowed to leave his dormitory despite his need for other medical care. He declined to give his full name because his employer had not authorized him to speak to the press. “There is the Covid, and we cannot leave.”

“我当然很害怕,”来自孟加拉国的工人穆尼尔(Monir)说。尽管他有其他医疗需求,但还是不被允许离开宿舍。他拒绝透露全名,因为雇主没有授权他接受媒体采访。“因为有新冠病毒肺炎,我们不能出去。”

For all of Singapore’s reputation as a garden city-state that has banished trash and cultivated a highly educated work force, the compact island nation has long depended on more than one million low-wage workers to build its skyscrapers, mop its floors and operate its bustling port. But these foreign migrants, who have little chance of acquiring Singaporean citizenship, have been left out of the country’s social safety net, even if a raft of regulations ensures minimum salaries and health care coverage.

虽然新加坡有“花园城市国家”的美誉,街上从来看不见垃圾,培养了受过高等教育的劳动力,但这个人口密集的岛国长期以来一直依赖100多万低薪工人,他们盖起了新加坡的摩天大厦,把城市打扫干净,维持着繁忙港口的运行。但这些几乎没有机会获得新加坡公民身份的外国劳工,没被纳入社会保障网,尽管新加坡有许多确保最低工资和医保覆盖范围的法规。

The group proved a major blind spot in the coronavirus pandemic, exposing the starkly different experiences of rich expatriates and poorer ones in a city-state where 40 percent of residents are foreign born.

事实证明,这个外劳群体是新冠病毒大流行的一个主要盲点,暴露出在这个40%民众出生在国外的城市国家,富裕外籍人士和贫穷外国劳工有着截然不同的处境。

While arrivals at Singapore’s climate-controlled airport, with its butterfly gardens and orchid displays, were closely monitored for the coronavirus, the contagion was spreading in government-built dormitories crowded with 200,000 foreign laborers, mostly from South Asia and China.

虽然乘客抵达有着环境控制、蝴蝶园和兰花园的新加坡机场时,政府会对他们进行严格的新冠病毒检疫,但病毒却在政府为20万外劳修建的拥挤宿舍里蔓延,这些劳工大多来自南亚和中国。

The first low-wage foreign workers tested positive for the coronavirus in February, and their close contacts were quarantined and tested, according to the Singaporean authorities.

据新加坡当局称,今年2月,第一批低薪外籍工人中检测呈阳性的人都已被隔离,与之密切接触者也进行了检测,采取了隔离措施。

Now, dozens of dormitories and lodges are suffering from outbreaks. Clusters of infections have also popped up at construction sites and an industrial park. On Monday, Singapore recorded 1,426 new cases mostly tied to the testing of migrants, a record jump in a country that a month ago had about 300 total cases.

现在,几十个宿舍和居住点都出现了疫情。聚集性感染还出现在多个建筑工地和一个工业园区。周一,新加坡通报了1426例新的感染病例,其中大多数与对外劳的检测有关,对一个月前只有约300例累计病例的新加坡来说,这是一个创纪录的增长。

The Singaporean authorities, it seems, failed to fully appreciate the infectiousness of the virus. Most of the cases are mild or asymptomatic and none so far have required critical care, according to the government, perhaps explaining why the spread among the foreign-worker population was not caught earlier.

新加坡当局似乎没有充分认识到这种病毒的传染性。据政府的说法,大多数新感染者症状轻微或无症状,到目前为止尚无一例需要重症监护,这或许能解释为什么没有更早发现外劳中的疫情。

Packed with up to 20 laborers in a single stifling room, these foreign-worker dormitories have been the sites of previous outbreaks of disease, like tuberculosis. Residents complain of insect infestations and plumbing woes. Three workers said their rooms had not been disinfected in the wake of the coronavirus, despite promises that conditions would improve.

在这些外劳宿舍,20名工人挤在一间闷气的房间里,这里曾暴发肺结核等疾病。劳工们抱怨过害虫和下水道的问题。三名劳工说,尽管有关方面承诺情况将得到改善,但在出现了新冠病毒感染病例后,还没有人对他们的宿舍进行过消毒。

Khaw Boon Wan, Singapore’s transportation minister, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that foreign construction workers were getting “top attention.”

新加坡基础建设统筹部长兼交通部长许文远周日在Facebook上发帖称,外籍建筑工人正受到“最上层的注意”。

“I know our foreign workers are appreciative of the efforts,” he said. “They know that they are safer in Singapore now than elsewhere, even at home.”

“我知道我们的外劳对我们的努力表示赞赏,”他说。“他们知道,现在呆在新加坡比在其他地方更安全,包括回国。”

纽约时报双语版-新加坡病例激增,曾经的抗疫典范忽视了什么?

在这个城市国家,大多数民众在公共场合都戴上了口罩。
Ore Huiying/Getty Images

Because most new patients are linked to known clusters of infection, many of them among migrants, epidemiologists are hopeful that the lockdown will help tame local transmission. So far, 11 people have died in Singapore of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, a relatively low fatality rate. Hospitals are not overwhelmed.

由于大多数新感染与已知的聚集性感染有关,许多感染发生在外劳中,流行病学家对限制措施有助于控制病毒的局部传播满怀希望。迄今为止,新加坡只有11人死于新型冠状病毒引起的疾病,病亡率相对较低。医院也没有人满为患的问题。

In a video address on April 10, delivered in three languages for the island’s multiethnic population, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong appealed for a sense of communal responsibility.

4月10日,新加坡总理李显龙用三种语言向该国的多民族人口发表了一个视频讲话,他呼吁民众保持集体责任感。

“It only takes a few people to let down their guard and the virus will slip through,” he said. “We need everyone to play their part.”

“只要有几个人违规,我们就会功亏一篑,”他说。“最好的办法是大家恪守本分,负起社会责任。”

Other countries that managed to limit the pandemic within their borders are also struggling with recurrences. China has reported an uptick in imported infections, while increased testing has uncovered more cases in Japan.

其他曾遏制住了本国境内新冠病毒大流行的国家,也在与病毒的卷土重来作斗争。中国出现了输入性感染病例的上升,而日本扩大了病毒检测范围后也发现了更多的病例。

“The reality is that Americans and Europeans will face the same issues, too,” said Teo Yik Ying, the dean of the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health at the National University of Singapore. “My economist friends may not like this, but if trade and economic activity are resumed and people start moving without adequate measures, there will be subsequent waves of infection.”

“现实情况是,美国人和欧洲人也将面临同样的问题,”新加坡国立大学苏瑞福公共卫生学院院长张毅颖说。“我的经济学家朋友们也许不喜欢这个现实,但如果恢复贸易和经济活动,人们不采取适当措施就开始到处走动的话,将会出现后续的感染浪潮。”

Singaporean officials stress that once local transmission is controlled — the government is able to trace up to 4,000 contacts of patients each day — some semblance of normalcy should return to the country’s manicured streets. Schools should be able to reopen with staggered schedules. Local manufacturing can recommence, and goods and services, if not people, can flow again.

新加坡官员强调,政府有每天追踪多达4000名密接者的能力,一旦局部传播得到控制,该国整齐的街道上应该能恢复一些正常的样子。学校应该可以错开时间复课。当地的制造业可以复工。如果人还不能自由活动的话,商品和服务可以再次流动起来。

But for a country where every flight is international, the ability of a virus to bring global travel and trade to a standstill remains a shock.

但对一个所有航班都是国际航班的国家来说,这种病毒让全球旅行和贸易陷入停滞的能力仍令人震惊。

Daniel David, 36, normally imports baby carrots from Australia and brussels sprouts from the Netherlands to supply hotels, restaurants and catering companies. He’s now chasing clients who have closed up shop and disappeared without paying him. Life has become hyperlocal.

36岁的丹尼尔·戴维(Daniel David)的日常工作是从澳大利亚进口小胡萝卜,从荷兰进口球芽甘蓝,供应给酒店、餐馆和餐饮公司。他现在正在四处寻找那些关了店门、没付钱就消失了的客户。生活已变得超极本地化。

“We’re used to getting things from all over the world and mixing it up,” Mr. David said. “We have to get used to doing our own thing.”

“我们习惯于从世界各地采购东西,然后把它们混在一起,”戴维说。“我们必须学会自己做自己的事情。”

纽约时报双语版-新加坡病例激增,曾经的抗疫典范忽视了什么?

新加坡一家购物中心里的餐厅让人们保持社交距离的标记。
Ore Huiying/Getty Images

In the last week of March, passenger traffic from Changi Airport, from which more than 100 airlines once flew from Singapore to nearly 400 cities around the world, fell 98 percent from the year before. Ridership of public transportation has dropped more than 70 percent in the past week.

3月的最后一周,樟宜机场的客运量与去年同期相比下降了98%。这个机场曾有100多家航空公司飞往全球近400个城市。新加坡过去一周的公共交通客流量下降了70%以上。

As visitors from China brought the virus to Singapore in January, the Singaporean authorities quickly banned flights from affected areas. The police helped find close contacts of those who tested positive. People returning from ski holidays in Europe or jaunts to New York sat out their quarantines in fancy hotels.

今年1月,来自中国的游客将新冠病毒带到新加坡后,新加坡当局迅速取消了来自疫区的航班。警方帮助寻找确诊病例的密接者。从欧洲滑雪度假归来的人,或从纽约旅游归来的人,在豪华酒店里度过了他们的隔离期。

When a second wave of imported cases appeared from Europe and North America, Singapore barred all short-term foreign visitors. Everyone who returns to the island undergoes mandatory quarantine. For more than a week now, there has been only one imported case of the coronavirus.

从欧洲和北美输入的第二波感染出现后,新加坡禁止了所有短期到访的外国游客入境。每个返回这个岛国的人都要接受强制隔离。一周多来,只出现了一例输入性病例。

But the rapid spread of the virus among foreign laborers was a clear lapse in the stringent epidemic planning, which was strengthened after Singapore was hit hard by the SARS virus in 2003.

但病毒在外劳中的迅速传播,显然是政府严格控制疫情方案的一个失误。新加坡曾在2003年受到SARS的严重打击,政府在那之后加强了疫情防控。

“We’ve been warning for years that these high-density dormitories are at risk, from fire or viral transmission,” said Alex Au, the vice president of Transient Workers Count Too, a migrant rights group. “We chose as a society to go ahead with living conditions that are a risky node for infection because it kept costs down.”

“我们一直警告了好几年,这些高密度的宿舍存在火灾或病毒传播风险,”外劳权益组织“客工亦重”(Transient Workers Count Too)副主席区伟鹏说。“作为一个社群,我们选择了存在感染风险的生活条件,因为这样成本低。”

纽约时报双语版-新加坡病例激增,曾经的抗疫典范忽视了什么?

上个月,将新加坡与马来西亚的新山连接起来的堤道几乎没有车辆往来。
Ore Huiying for The New York Times

Across the world, people in shared living spaces have suffered runaway spread, from nursing homes and prisons to cruise ships and aircraft carriers.

从养老院到监狱,从邮轮到航空母舰,疫情在世界各地共用生活空间的人群中,都发生了迅速的蔓延。

Labor experts in Singapore said that the quarantining of healthy laborers with sick ones in the past couple of weeks had probably accelerated infections. Some of those who test negative are now being separated from the sick to avoid the dormitories’ becoming viral petri dishes.

新加坡的劳工专家表示,过去几周里将健康劳工与感染病毒的劳工在一起隔离的做法,可能加速了病毒的传播。一些检测结果呈阴性的劳工现在被分开隔离,以免宿舍成为病毒传播的温床。

“Should standards in foreign worker dormitories be raised?” wrote Josephine Teo, the minister for manpower, in a Facebook post. “There’s no question in my mind, answer is ‘yes.’”

“外籍工人宿舍的标准应该提高吗?”新加坡人力部部长杨莉明在Facebook上发的一个帖子中写道。“这对我来说不是一个问题,答案是肯定的。”

Tens of thousands of Singaporeans have donated funds for the well-being of migrant workers. The expectation is that the government will deliver on its vow to treat foreign workers better.

数以万计的新加坡人为外劳捐了款。人们期待,政府能够兑现更好对待外国工人的承诺。

For now, though, the country is still reeling from the pandemic’s assault on some of the most defenseless people on the island.

但就目前而言,新加坡仍未能让这个岛上一些最弱势的群体免遭新冠病毒大流行的打击。

On Monday, Singapore imposed a 14-day stay-at-home order on about 180,000 foreign construction workers and their families. Rights groups worry about how some workers who live outside government quarters will get food.

周一,新加坡对约18万名外籍建筑工人及其家人实施了为期14天的居家令。人权组织对一些不住在政府宿舍的工人如何获得食物表示担心。

Confined to his room in a government dormitory where hundreds of foreign workers have been infected with the coronavirus, Mr. Monir said he had one wish.

穆尼尔不能离开自己的政府宿舍,那里已有数百名外籍工人感染了新冠病毒。穆尼尔说,他只有一个愿望。

“I want to go home,” he said.

“我想回家,”他说。