Coronavirus: Recovery/dorms

Migrant workers move out of temporary sites, return to dorms

Part of the facilities at Tanjong Pagar Terminal being taken down on Tuesday. The mega-facility was intended to house up to 15,000 patients or foreign workers with Covid-19. Some tentage facilities there will remain operational as the Government cont
Part of the facilities at Tanjong Pagar Terminal being taken down on Tuesday. The mega-facility was intended to house up to 15,000 patients or foreign workers with Covid-19. Some tentage facilities there will remain operational as the Government continues to monitor the pandemic situation, standing down or activating sites where necessary. ST PHOTO: NG SOR LUAN

With Singapore entering phase three of its reopening, migrant workers are gradually moving out of temporary accommodation and returning to their dormitories.

The last batch of workers who had been staying in vacant Housing Board flats in Redhill Close vacated them yesterday morning.

They had been there since April, as part of the Government's strategy to contain the spread of the coronavirus in workers' dormitories, said Labour MP Melvin Yong on Facebook yesterday.

"As we move into phase three of the safe reopening of our economy, the need to house healthy migrant workers temporarily at Redhill has also come to an end," he added.

The 21 HDB blocks in Redhill Close had housed healthy migrant workers employed in essential services such as cleaning and maintenance.

The site in Bukit Merah was one of 36 unused state properties which were converted into temporary accommodation for migrant workers.

Among the locations were 17 former schools, including the former Innova Junior College in Champions Way, the former Serangoon JC in Upper Serangoon Road, and the former Tampines JC in Tampines Avenue 9.

Nine vacant factories, tentage at NSRCC Kranji as well as nine other vacant state properties were converted for the same purpose.

In his Facebook post, Mr Yong said he had spoken with the agencies which managed the Redhill Close site.

These agencies had faced "immense challenges" while working to provide the migrant workers with data connectivity, a minimart, an in-house clinic and barber services.

"These were just a few of the amenities they had to provide almost overnight," he added.

Mr Yong, who is also MP for Radin Mas, thanked his residents for welcoming the migrant workers in the neighbourhood.

He also expressed his gratitude to Redhill grassroots leaders and various public sector agencies involved in managing the site.

On Tuesday, facilities at Tanjong Pagar Terminal were partially taken down.

The tentage there was part of a mega-facility intended to house up to 15,000 patients or foreign workers with Covid-19.

The mega-facility, alongside other community isolation facilities at Changi Exhibition Centre and Singapore Expo, helped to free up hospital facilities for more serious Covid-19 cases.

The Ministry of National Development said on Tuesday that since August, as dormitories were progressively cleared of Covid-19, migrant workers have gradually moved - either back to their original accommodation or to new Quick Build Dormitories.

However, some tentage facilities at Tanjong Pagar Terminal will remain operational as the Government continues to monitor the pandemic situation, standing down or activating sites where necessary.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 31, 2020, with the headline Migrant workers move out of temporary sites, return to dorms. Subscribe