Coronavirus: SHN for 180,000 workers and dependants to end on Monday

Foreign workers in the construction sector and their dependants have been put on stay-home notice since April 20.
Foreign workers in the construction sector and their dependants have been put on stay-home notice since April 20. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

The stay-home notice (SHN) that is being served by around 180,000 foreign workers in the construction sector and their dependants will end at 11.59pm on Monday.

The notice will not be extended further as the incidence of coronavirus infection among this group of residents is now similar to that of the community at large, said Permanent Secretary for Manpower Aubeck Kam at a virtual press conference yesterday.

But after the stay-home notice is no longer in force, this group will still be subject to circuit breaker measures like everyone else in the community, he added.

"For example, only one person should leave the house at any one time and return immediately after completing errands," said Mr Kam, who chairs the inter-agency task force in charge of migrant worker welfare in dormitories.

This group of workers and their dependants have been put on stay-home notice since April 20. The notice was extended for another 14 days earlier this month as a precautionary measure to stem the spread of Covid-19.

The authorities had implemented this move to curb the number of infected construction work pass holders who are not living in purpose-built dormitories, following a spike in cases among this group of workers a few weeks ago.

The workers who were placed on stay-home notice are work permit and S Pass holders staying in factory-converted dormitories, temporary quarters on construction sites, Housing Board flats and private residential premises like shophouses.

However,  all workers in dormitories - including factory-converted dormitories and construction temporary quarters - are currently not allowed to leave their dorms.

The 180,000 workers and their dependants also include a "small percentage" of at least 7,000 healthy workers who were moved to alternative living areas such as military camps, floating hotels and sports halls, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) had said previously.

Manpower Minister Josephine Teo urged this group of workers to "leave your place of residence only if you absolutely need to, for example to pick up essentials, buy groceries or buy food, and also try to just do it one at a time".

 
 
 
 

"Don't go out in groups, and keep that outing short," she said.

She acknowledged that some workers may have a strong desire to go out and perform certain tasks, such as remitting money home, as their stay-home notice has been in place for a considerably long period of 28 days.

They can do so if these activities cannot be done digitally, but should remember to keep such outings short and take precautions, she said.

The authorities will also reach out to their employers to remind the workers that the circuit breaker measures still apply to them, and that they have to continue to protect themselves from the coronavirus, she added.

MOM said employers have to keep the ministry updated should there be any change to the registered addresses and mobile phone numbers of their workers.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2020, with the headline 'SHN for 180,000 workers and dependants to end on Monday'. Subscribe