SINGAPORE: Another 69 foreign worker dormitories have been cleared of COVID-19, including a dormitory with Singapore's second largest cluster.
The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said on Tuesday (Jul 21) it has cleared three purpose-built dormitories, 59 factory-converted dormitories, and seven construction temporary quarters.
In addition, 41 blocks for recovered workers in 11 purpose-built dormitories have also been cleared. These include the remaining blocks at Tampines Dormitory, Cochrane Lodge 1, Cochrane Lodge 2, Changi Lodge 2 and Sungei Tengah Lodge, allowing these dormitories to be "fully cleared of COVID-19".
"In particular, Sungei Tengah Lodge is the largest PBD (purpose-built dormitory) with around 16,000 workers, all of whom can immediately return to work if their employers have obtained approval from their sector agencies to restart operations," said MOM.
As of Jul 17, there were 2,203 COVID-19 cases at Sungei Tengah Lodge, making it the second largest COVID-19 cluster in Singapore. A day later, the Ministry of Health (MOH) declared the cluster closed.
It was first declared an isolation area on Apr 9 - among the first dormitories to go into isolation.
Cochrane Lodge 1, Cochrane Lodge 2, Changi Lodge 2 and Tampines Dormitory were also gazetted as isolation areas in April.
Changi Lodge 2 was isolated on Apr 23, and had 528 cases as of Jul 2. The cluster was declared closed by MOH on Jul 18, with no new cases linked to it for the past 28 days.
Tampines Dormitory was the fifth dormitory in Singapore to isolated on Apr 9. As of Jul 14, it recorded 216 COVID-19 cases.
In total, 891 dormitories and 56 blocks for recovered workers in 17 purpose-built dormitories have been cleared of COVID-19.
ALL WORKERS TO BE TESTED BY MID-AUGUST
As of Monday, about 247,000 workers have either recovered or tested to be free from the coronavirus, up from about 215,000 a week ago.
"Some of the workers are pending movement to appropriate accommodations before they can resume work," said MOM.
Others can return to work once the dormitory operators, employers and workers have taken the necessary precautions to help minimise the risk of new infections as the workers return to work.
"Most of the dormitories completed the steps in a week or less," said MOM.
"The ITF (inter-agency task force) is also progressively implementing the additional decontamination measures to allow more recovered workers from uncleared blocks/dormitories to resume work safely, without compromising public health."
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Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong said on Friday that all foreign workers living in dormitories will be tested by mid-August.
MOM said on Tuesday that the authorities are working closely with dormitory operators, employers and migrant workers to complete all the necessary steps and clear the remaining dormitories.
As work gradually resumes, the manpower ministry also urged all dormitory operators, employers and workers to remain vigilant and ensure that COVID-19 safety measures are "rigorously followed".