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COVID-19: Former Chancery Court site to house healthy foreign workers

COVID-19: Former Chancery Court site to house healthy foreign workers

File photo of Chancery Court. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: The former Chancery Court site at 36 Dunearn Road has been designated as an alternative accommodation to house healthy foreign workers in essential services.

In a statement to CNA, the Singapore Land Authority said that the site can house up to 1,200 workers. Some foreign workers moved in last Friday (May 8).

Far East Organization, which owns the Chancery Court site, had offered it for the Government’s use to "support its efforts in containing the virus outbreak", said SLA.

SLA did not confirm how many workers are currently residing there.

READ: The Big Read: Solving Singapore’s foreign workers problem requires serious soul searching, from top to bottom

In its statement, SLA said that Chancery Court will be used to house healthy foreign workers in essential services, with all necessary measures in place, including on-site amenities and meals provided.

Employers will also provide transport and workers are expected to observe circuit breaker measures.

Singapore has reported 23,787 coronavirus cases to date, the majority of which are linked to foreign worker dormitories. Twenty-one patients have died from complications arising from COVID-19 infection.

Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong announced last month that foreign workers who are not sick and working in essential services will be housed separately from those in dormitories, in a bid to curb the spread of the outbreak.

Military camps, Changi Exhibition Centre, vacant HDB flats and offshore floating lodgings have been identified as potential accommodation.

File photo of Chancery Court. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

READ: Singapore reports 486 new COVID-19 infections, number of discharged cases hits new daily high of 504

Chancery Court, which is located across the road from Anglo-Chinese School (Barker Road), has a site area of almost 260,000 sq ft, comprising a 16-storey tower block and seven blocks of maisonettes.

The privatised Housing and Urban Development Company (HUDC) estate was sold for S$401.78 million in an en bloc sale in 2018.

According to Far East Organization, residents vacated the site around the middle of last year.

The developer also said that none of its other properties is being used for COVID-19-related accommodation, aside from a company under Far East Hospitality, which is offering hotels to provide accommodation.

READ: Employers must pay foreign workers isolated in dormitories even if work passes are cancelled: MOM

A security post at Chancery Court. (Photo: Jeremy Long)

Grassroots adviser to Tanjong Pagar GRC Melvin Yong said that residents living around the Chancery Court site were informed of the developments in a letter, which included key background information on the temporary housing facility.

In the letter, dated May 3, Mr Yong said that a dormitory operator will be appointed to operate the site.

In the meantime, a community taskforce has been formed to work with relevant stakeholders and a hotline has also been set up for residents if they have queries. 

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Source: CNA/nh(aj)


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