5,700 workers have yet to be scheduled for COVID-19 rostered routine testing, cannot resume work

5,700 workers have yet to be scheduled for COVID-19 rostered routine testing, cannot resume work

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Singapore
A medical worker performs a nose swab test on a migrant worker at a dormitory amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore, Apr 28, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: A total of 5,700 workers are currently unable to resume work as they have yet to undergo mandatory COVID-19 rostered routine testing as of Friday (Sep 18). 

This is "a significant reduction" from the 13,000 workers last week, the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), Building and Construction Authority (BCA), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Health Promotion Board (HPB) said in a joint press release. 

READ: Singapore reports 11 new COVID-19 cases, lowest daily figure since Mar 12

The AccessCode Status for these 5,700 workers will remain "red" and they cannot return to work. 

Once these workers have undergone their testing, their AccessCode will be restored to "green" and they will be allowed to return to work, said the authorities. 

Since August, the authorities have been engaging employers and reminding them to schedule their workers for rostered routine testing before the Sep 5 deadline.

"Agencies have also ensured that there were sufficient rostered routine testing slots for booking and assisted employers who faced difficulties scheduling workers," the release stated.

The authorities advised employers to quickly schedule appointment slots for their workers on the Health Promotion Board’s Swab Registration System to avoid further disruption to their business operations. 

Employers who are recalcitrant and do not schedule their workers for RRT will have their work pass privileges curtailed.  

READ: MOH conducting field tests to check feasibility of widespread saliva testing for COVID-19

The importance of rostered routine testing has been demonstrated in a case of one of the purpose-built dormitories, said authorities. 

At the end of August, only 25 per cent of residents at the dormitory who were required to do undergo the routine testing were actually doing so. 

Subsequently, a total of 115 COVID-19 cases in the dormitory were picked up when all the residents underwent a pre-emptive test as a precautionary measure. 

"The cases could have been detected and contained much earlier to prevent the spread of the infection had all the workers been scheduled for their rostered routine testing," said authorities. 

Multiple lapses on the implementation of safe distancing measures were also found, and the dormitory operator has been notified to correct these lapses. 

The operator will also improve safety measures through additional segregation infrastructure to limit intermixing between residents. 

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Source: CNA/ad(hs)

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