SINGAPORE: Two vacant state properties at Kismis Avenue and Ulu Pandan Road will be used to house healthy foreign workers in essential services amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said on Thursday (May 7) that it has been working with other government agencies to find alternative housing options for migrant workers as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus in dormitories.
The workers will start living at the former Ngee Ann Polytechnic staff apartments at 90, 92 and 94 Kismis Avenue this week, while the former Nexus International School at 201 Ulu Pandan Road is being refurbished and will be ready in early June.
The sites have a capacity of up to 1,000 beds each and will house healthy workers in essential services. A majority of Singapore’s 20,939 cases are migrant workers living in dormitories.
READ: Situation at larger foreign worker dormitories stable, but COVID-19 picture in smaller dorms ‘mixed’: Josephine Teo
On-site amenities and meals will be provided. Employers will provide transport to and from work for their employees, the spokesperson said, adding that they will be observing "circuit breaker" measures.
Member of Parliament for Holland-Bukit Timah GRC Christopher de Souza said: "We will care for our essential workers - after all, they give so much of themselves to Singapore.
"It is only right that we care for them. At the same time, we will do our very best to minimise disruption to residents living nearby."
Some residents he spoke to had also asked how they could get involved in welcoming the workers, he said.
"That reflects a great community spirit, which we need, especially in these times," he added.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, Mr de Souza said he visited the former Nexus International School site to see how it will be refurbished for the workers.
He said that the hexagon-shaped classrooms where the workers will sleep in are “bright and roomy” with “large streams of daylight coming in”, while sheltered open spaces like the atriums will also provide more space.
He also pointed out that workers will be screened medically before moving in.
National Development Minister Lawrence Wong, who co-chairs the multi-ministry task force, said on Apr 9 that foreign workers who are not sick and working in essential services will be housed separately in places like military camps, vacant Housing Board flats and offshore floating lodging.