All migrant worker dormitories to be cleared of coronavirus by Aug 7, says Lawrence Wong

The only exceptions will be 17 standalone blocks in purpose-built dormitories that will serve as quarantine facilities. ST PHOTO: KHALID BABA

SINGAPORE - All migrant worker dormitories will be cleared of Covid-19 by Aug 7.

The only exceptions will be 17 standalone blocks in purpose-built dormitories that will serve as quarantine facilities, said National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force combating the Covid-19 outbreak.

"It has been a challenging and tough journey for everyone involved in clearing the migrant workers in the dormitories... we are finally reaching the last stretch," he said on Friday (July 24), thanking the front liners involved in the operations.

This means that almost all migrant workers living in dormitories will be cleared by early August, aside from 28,000 who are still serving out their isolation period in the various quarantine facilities.

Workers who complete their isolation periods will have to take an additional Covid-19 test, and those who test negative can resume work if their employers meet safety requirements.

"We will be working very closely with all the companies who are engaging these workers to allow them to start work and to allow work to resume as soon as possible," he said.

"Contractors must also take all the measures seriously... just because the workers are cleared doesn't mean that they can resume activities as before."

The Government is also working with contractors on housing arrangements for the workers.

An estimated 80 per cent of workers might have been cleared of the coronavirus so far.

Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who also co-chairs the task force, said the authorities will continue to keep a close eye on the construction industry in particular.

"We do expect to see from time to time Covid-19 cases among the construction industry... so we need to watch carefully to make sure that there are no big clusters," he said.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said it expects the daily number of Covid-19 cases to remain high for the coming two weeks, before tapering down.

Currently, Singapore is reporting between 200 and 300 new cases daily.

"You won't see these large numbers anymore because we would have largely completed the clearing of the dormitories," said Mr Wong.

But he also cautioned that the fight against Covid-19 was far from over, adding: "I must again remind everyone, just because the case count comes down, that shouldn't be a reason for us to go out to celebrate and have a big party."

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