Masks, hand sanitisers to be distributed to 350,000 migrant workers in dormitories

Masks, hand sanitisers to be distributed to 350,000 migrant workers in dormitories

S11 Dormitory @ Punggol worker walks
A foreign worker wears a face mask as he carries groceries past the S11 Dormitory @ Punggol in Singapore on Apr 6, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: Reusable face masks will be given out to about 350,000 migrant workers who live in dormitories, said the Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) on Wednesday (Apr 8).

The first batch of 120,000 reusable masks has been distributed, said MWC, which is working with the Dormitory Association of Singapore Limited and the Ministry of Manpower on this. 

"We will expedite the distribution to the remaining migrant workers as soon as possible," it said in a Facebook post. 

"With support of Temasek Foundation, MWC will also be distributing hand sanitisers to all migrant workers in the dormitories soon."

READ: COVID-19: Nearly 20,000 foreign workers in quarantine in S11 Dormitory, Westlite Toh Guan

More than 20,000 workers are currently quarantined in three dormitories after clusters of COVID-19 infections were found. S11 @ Punggol, Westlite Toh Guan and Toh Guan Dormitory have been marked isolation areas and workers are to stay in their rooms for 14 days.

S11 @ Punggol forms the largest such cluster with 98 cases as of Tuesday. 

COVID-19 cases have also been found at other dormitories including Singapore's largest migrant worker dormitory Sungei Tengah Lodge (18 cases), Tampines Dormitory (17 cases) and Kranji Lodge (three cases).

COVID-19 links between dorm clusters

There have been concerns about the virus spreading at the tight living quarters of the dormitories where 10 or more workers can share the same room. 

While reports of unsanitary and crowded living conditions at the isolated dorms had surfaced this week, MWC said on Tuesday that conditions had "stabilised".

An inter-agency task force has been formed to help the three dormitories most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

READ: Living conditions at S11 Dormitory, Westlite Toh Guan dormitories have 'stabilised': Migrant Workers' Centre

MWC also urged the public who wish to help to give cash instead of making donations-in-kind like masks and other necessities.

This will allow the agency the flexibility to respond to needs on the ground more effectively, it said.

"During this period, we have received many offers from the public and charitable organisations wanting to help our migrant brothers affected by the COVID-19 situation. It is really heartwarming to see the community coming together to help one another and extending their care to even our migrant community," it said. 

READ: Yes, wear a mask but when and why? Here’s what you need to know

The donations will go towards providing financial assistance to workers who are displaced at work, providing basic necessities or items required by workers in dormitories, as well as providing housing or meals to workers in need.

Members of the public can contribute online at giving.sg/mwaf/migrantswecare.

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Source: CNA/hm(gs)

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