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70% to 80% of migrant workers in dormitories expected to be COVID-19 free by end-July: Lawrence Wong

70% to 80% of migrant workers in dormitories expected to be COVID-19 free by end-July: Lawrence Wong

Foreign workers look on from their dormitory, declared as an isolation area, amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Singapore. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: About 70 to 80 per cent of migrant workers staying in dormitories are expected be cleared of COVID-19 by the end of July, said Minister for National Development Lawrence Wong on Thursday (Jun 25).  

Speaking at a multi-ministry task force press conference on Thursday evening, Mr Wong said about 120,000 migrant workers have either recovered from or tested negative for COVID-19 so far. 

“By the end of next month, we will have covered quite a large proportion of the workers in the dormitories,” said Mr Wong. 

“And shortly after that, we will be able to completely clear all the workers and clear the dormitories. All the workers, we expect, will be able to resume work thereafter.” 

On Tuesday, the Ministry of Manpower announced that a total of 79,000 migrant workers have been cleared of COVID-19 as of Jun 22. This figure includes those residing in government-provided accommodation facilities. 

A total of 163 dormitories and 18 blocks for recovered workers in 11 purpose-built dormitories have now been cleared of COVID-19, the manpower ministry had said.

Noting that Singapore is controlling the number of infections in the community one week into Phase 2 of the reopening, Mr Wong said: “We are continuing to make progress to clear the migrant worker clusters and the dormitories, and allow the workers to resume work safely.” 

Singapore reported 113 new COVID-19 infections as of noon on Thursday, bringing the total number of cases to 42,736. 

Of the new cases, the vast majority of the cases are work permit holders living in foreign worker dormitories, and five are cases in the community. 

There are currently 320,000 people living in dormitories, said Mr Wong, meaning that about 40 per cent of the workers have been cleared of COVID-19 so far. 

Responding to questions about how many migrant workers have already been tested for COVID-19, Mr Wong said the remaining workers will "hopefully" be tested in the "few more weeks beyond that".

"Twenty per cent will then remain. Hopefully a few more weeks beyond that in August, we will be able to clear all of the workers in the dormitories."  

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Source: CNA/hw(ac)


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