Coronavirus pandemic

Dorm cases may rise in coming days as workers get tested after isolation

The Manpower Ministry said yesterday that 193 more dorms have been cleared of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 818. They include Mandai Lodge, the eighth purpose-built dorm to have all its blocks fully cleared. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG
The Manpower Ministry said yesterday that 193 more dorms have been cleared of the coronavirus, bringing the total to 818. They include Mandai Lodge, the eighth purpose-built dorm to have all its blocks fully cleared. ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

More Covid-19 cases could arise among migrant workers in dorms over the next few days because more will be tested after completing their isolation period, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said yesterday.

Some of the workers come from dormitories with a higher prevalence of Covid-19 infection, which is expected to lead to a higher number of cases, it added.

More than 215,000 workers have been tested and cleared so far - around two-thirds of those living in dorms, MOH noted.

These workers have either recovered from Covid-19 or were found to be free of infection.

Singapore is on track to clear about 80 per cent of workers in dorms by the end of this month and for all to be tested by the middle of next month.

"Work is ongoing to prepare these dormitories to be declared cleared, and for workers to resume work," MOH said.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said yesterday that 193 more dorms have been cleared, bringing the total to 818.

They include Mandai Lodge, the eighth purpose-built dorm (PBD) to have all its blocks fully cleared of the coronavirus.

Three of its blocks are among the 19 reported cleared as of yesterday to house recovered workers in eight PBDs, bringing the total number of such blocks that have been cleared to 59.

There are 43 PBDs in total.

The other seven PBDs that have been cleared are Brani Residence, Central Staff Apartments, Jurong Apartments, Pasir Panjang Residence, Seatown Dormitory, Space@Tuas and Westlite Juniper.

 
 
 

Officials have also cleared 170 factory-converted dormitories and 22 construction temporary quarters.

Some cleared workers are waiting to be moved to appropriate accommodation before they can resume work.

Others will be able to start their jobs once the three steps required by MOM to minimise the risk of new infections have been put in place.

Dorm operators must first arrange staggered pick-up and drop-off times for workers with their employers.

Employers must also confirm or update the residential addresses of staff on the MOM database.

And third, workers must download the TraceTogether app to facilitate contact tracing and the FWMOMCare mobile app to update their health status and residence. These details must match those in their employers' and dormitory operators' records.

Most of the dormitories completed these steps in a week or less, said MOM.

The ministry added that the forward assurance and support teams (Fast) - consisting of soldiers, police and MOM officers deployed to the dorms - are working closely with dorm operators, employers and migrant workers to complete the necessary steps and clear remaining dormitories.

It advised employers to refer to the MOM website for the latest list of cleared dormitories, and for those scheduled to be cleared in the coming weeks.

The website said the order in which blocks and dormitories are to be cleared is based on various factors, including the number of recovered workers originally from the dorm and the spread of Covid-19 there.

 

The timing of clearances may also be revised, depending on whether multiple tests need to be done for a worker or how stringently safe distancing measures are observed.

"As we continue to gradually resume work, we urge all dormitory operators, employers and workers to remain vigilant," MOM said yesterday, adding that safe working and living measures should be rigorously followed.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2020, with the headline 'Dorm cases may rise in coming days as workers get tested after isolation'. Subscribe