PARLIAMENT

Over 32,000 healthy foreign workers moved into temporary accommodation

A migrant worker at the former site of Bedok North Secondary School in Jalan Damai yesterday. The site is among those being used to house healthy workers in a bid to curb Covid-19 transmission in dormitories. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
A migrant worker at the former site of Bedok North Secondary School in Jalan Damai yesterday. The site is among those being used to house healthy workers in a bid to curb Covid-19 transmission in dormitories. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

More than 32,000 healthy foreign workers have moved into temporary accommodation in sports halls, vacant Housing Board blocks and army camps provided by the Government in a move to curb Covid-19 transmission in dormitories.

Those who need medical care after they are relocated will be sent to medical posts, clinics or hospitals in the vicinity, depending on their condition, Minister of State for Manpower Zaqy Mohamad told Parliament yesterday.

Workers who are being tested for Covid-19 will be housed in a swab isolation facility until their test results are known.

"If they are tested positive for Covid-19, (then) they will be transferred to the appropriate care facility," he added.

Mr Zaqy was responding to Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC), who asked whether isolation, quarantine and care arrangements will be available for workers who have moved into temporary accommodation.

Mr Zaqy also assured Mr de Souza that workers who are infected with Covid-19 will be taken care of as well.

He said: "Regardless of where infected workers are housed, all migrant workers living in dormitories have access to medical care and attention."

About half of some 30,000 infected migrant workers staying in dormitories had recovered as of the end of last month, Mr Zaqy said.

The vast majority of the remaining infected workers are recovering well, with only one in intensive care, he added.

A 51-year-old man from China, who had been working in Singapore for almost 20 years, died on Sunday from complications owing to Covid-19.

Workers' Party Non-Constituency MP Dennis Tan asked the Manpower Ministry whether foreign workers returning from overseas and foreign workers who were served with stay-home notices must stay in quarantine facilities from February.

He also wanted to know if foreign workers had served out their stay-home notices, leave of absence or quarantine orders in their dormitory rooms.

Mr Zaqy said that from Jan 29, the ministry had informed licensed dormitories to set aside isolation facilities. Checks had been conducted to ensure compliance, he added.

"For dormitories with limited transmission, close contacts of infected workers continue to be sent to government quarantine facilities or community care facilities in centralised locations," he added.

"Spaces within (other) dormitories were reconfigured to house workers suspected or confirmed to be infected separately from others. This may or may not have been in the workers' original (dorm) rooms."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 05, 2020, with the headline 'Over 32,000 healthy foreign workers moved into temporary accommodation'. Subscribe