SINGAPORE: Some foreign workers who have recovered from COVID-19 in Singapore have started living aboard a cruise ship docked at Marina Bay Cruise Centre, the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) said on Friday (May 1).
The first workers boarded the SuperStar Gemini - one of two cruise ships cleared to house these workers temporarily - on Wednesday.
The second ship, the SuperStar Aquarius, has also passed checks by the authorities and is ready to receive the workers.
READ: COVID-19: On-site care facilities at some dormitories, designated spaces for recovered workers
REDUCING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19
These are part of the Government’s efforts to transfer workers to alternative living areas to reduce the spread of the virus within their dormitories.
STB said that fresh air is piped into the ship, and no air will be re-circulated between cabins and common areas. The ships also have en-suite toilets and in-cabin dining, as well as Wi-Fi and entertainment in the cabins.
There are strict infection control measures and safe distancing measures will be observed at all times, it added. The Marina Bay Cruise Centre has also been equipped with sick bays and an isolation station, STB said.
The number of COVID-19 cases among migrant workers living in dormitories has surged in recent weeks, and now make up about 85 per cent of Singapore's 16,169 cases.
Many workers who are well have been moved out of the tightly packed dormitories to other living quarters, such as military camps and vacant HDB flats.
On Apr 27, National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said that authorities have an "extensive" plan to house recovered foreign migrant workers, involving new sites.
BOTH SHIPS CAN ACCOMMODATE UP TO 2,000 FOREIGN WORKERS
SuperStar Gemini and SuperStar Aquarius have "completed stringent evaluation checks" by the Government, Genting Cruise Lines said in a press release.The two ships together can accommodate up to 2,000 foreign workers.
READ: Migrant workers with COVID-19 symptoms isolated before getting tested to prevent potential transmission
"Every effort will be made to uphold the health and welfare of Singapore’s foreign workers while on board the ship, which include observing the highest standards of safe distancing and preventive measures at all times," said Genting Cruise Lines.
“We are pleased that our onboard facilities, as well as preventive and safety standards meet Singapore’s strict requirements for this initiative," said Mr Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises, adding that there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 among its guests or crew to date.
The SuperStar Gemini arrived on Apr 17 from Hong Kong. SuperStar Aquarius arrived in Singapore on Apr 25, according to marinetraffic.com.