SINGAPORE: A dormitory operator which locked 20 migrant workers in their room after a close contact of theirs tested positive for COVID-19 has been given a "stern warning", said the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) on Friday (Apr 24).
MOM also said the employer of the confined workers will not be allowed to hire new foreign workers, pending a police investigation.
The matter came to light on Tuesday after migrant workers rights group Transient Workers Count Too (TWC2) said on its Facebook page that it received a "distress call" from workers at Joylicious dormitory, which is located in Tuas.
In response to CNA's queries, MOM said it was not notified by TWC2 but acted after seeing the Facebook post.
“MOM immediately deployed our inspectors to the site. On arrival, MOM officers found that the 20 workers were no longer confined in their room but had been relocated to a warehouse with attached toilet,” said a spokesperson.
According to MOM, investigations revealed that on Apr 20, the dormitory operator had confined the workers in their room "with consent from the employer of the foreign workers".
"The reason given by the operator was to prevent them from moving around after a close contact was confirmed positive for COVID-19," said the ministry, adding that the workers were moved to the warehouse the following day.
“The dormitory operator was advised that it is unacceptable to forcibly confine the workers to their room."
"Members of public are urged to alert MOM when they come across such incidents so that we can quickly respond to take care of the wellbeing of the workers," said the ministry.
Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect MOM's revised statement saying it was the employer of the workers rather than the dormitory operator that will not be allowed to hire new foreign workers pending an investigation.