Healthy foreign workers will be moved from dormitories to other housing sites, such as army camps, floating hotels, vacant Housing Board flats and the Changi Exhibition Centre, to prevent them from being infected by workers who have the coronavirus.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong yesterday said the number of workers in each dormitory has to be reduced so that effective public health measures can be introduced to contain the spread of the Covid-19 among this group.
Such measures include deploying medical posts in the dormitories starting with the critical ones, actively testing workers and separating infected or suspected cases from the ones who are well.
More than 5,000 workers - mostly those who perform essential services - have already moved out, with more expected to do so in the coming days.
About 1,300 are moving temporarily into two Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) camps - Jurong Camp II and Bedok Camp II - progressively from this week, said the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) in a Facebook post last night.
The first floating hotel, usually used by those in offshore and marine work and with space for about 500 people, might be ready in a few days, said Mr Wong.
He noted: "We will need to reduce the number of workers in each dormitory, so that the situation is more manageable.
"So we are moving out workers who are not sick and especially those in essential services, because they still need to continue to work... and we're accommodating them in alternative venues."
Mindef said the SAF had been preparing to house the workers at those locations during the month-long circuit breaker period until May 4, after the Ministry of National Development requested urgent housing facilities for them.
These unused premises at the camps are not required for any operational activities of the SAF and are physically separated from other SAF facilities, said the post.
An accompanying video showed SAF servicemen giving directions to foreign workers, as the latter brought their luggage into camp and prepared their bunk beds.
The workers have to follow strict safety measures during their stay, including twice-daily temperature checks, staggered mealtimes and safe distancing. They will also go through medical checks.
Foreign worker dormitories have been a growing concern during the Covid-19 outbreak. There are about 200,000 workers living in 43 dormitories in Singapore.
Some 21 vacant HDB blocks in Bukit Merah are being refurbished to house healthy foreign workers.
Mr Wong yesterday said the Government has also identified vacated HDB blocks in Tanjong Pagar and Jurong.
He emphasised that it was not just about having venues to house the workers, but also having proper management structures to take care of their needs.
He said: "No point putting workers there and then there's no management structure. So there is a need to do both in parallel.
"Should a worker fall sick even in one of these alternative venues, then we want to be able to quickly isolate them and not end up with more clusters in these venues. So all of these precautions are put in place as part of our foreign worker strategy."