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Migrant workers to remain in dormitories on rest days in Phase 2 of reopening: MOM

Migrant workers to remain in dormitories on rest days in Phase 2 of reopening: MOM

Migrant workers look out of windows in a dormitory in Singapore, May 15, 2020. (File photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: To prevent a wave of new COVID-19 infections, migrant workers will continue staying within their dormitories on their rest days as Singapore moves into Phase 2 of its reopening.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) said in a press release on Thursday (Jun 18) that workers will still be able to access communal facilities within the dormitories with safe distancing measures in place.

READ: 42 more migrant worker dormitories cleared of COVID-19: MOM

READ: Domestic workers should avoid 'congregating in big groups' on rest days in Phase 2 of reopening: MOM

"With daily movements in and out of the dormitories, we need to be vigilant to make sure that the workers remain COVID-19 free," said MOM. 

"There will already be some risk that infections are brought from workplaces back to the cleared dormitories. 

"Movements of the workers beyond the workplaces will pose additional risks of cross-infections with the general community, in both directions."

MOM said in the "immediate period entering into Phase 2" of reopening from Jun 19, workers will continue to stay within their dormitories on their rest days.

"A wave of new infections will set back the hard work of the many stakeholders and the workers themselves in clearing the dormitories over the past months," the ministry said.

Responding to CNA's queries on the duration of this "immediate period", MOM said no specific date has been set.

MOH added that when the infection rates in the community as well as the dormitories can be "sustained at lower levels for a longer period of time", workers at cleared dormitories and blocks will have the opportunity to leave their dormitories to run personal errands at approved locations.

"The gradual restoration of a normal way of life for dormitory residents will give them a better chance of remaining healthy and continuing to earn a livelihood for themselves and their families," said MOM.

READ: COVID-19: Singapore to build new dormitories with improved living standards for migrant workers

READ: COVID-19: New migrant worker dorms step in the right direction, say support groups - but could more be done?

In May, MOM announced that under Phase 2 of Singapore's post-circuit breaker period, migrant workers living in dormitories that have been cleared of COVID-19 infections will be able to run errands outside their dormitories on staggered rest days and on time slots of up to two hours at a time. 

Under Phase 3, rest days for migrant workers living in cleared dormitories will continue to be staggered, with eligible workers being able to leave the dormitories for a longer duration and to more locations on these rest days.

On Apr 21, all migrant workers living in dormitories were told to stop work and were not allowed to move in and out of their dormitories until May 4. The restriction on daily movement was later extended to Jun 1. 

These measures were put in place to minimise the risk of further community transmission of COVID-19, according to authorities. 

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Source: CNA/ic(ac)

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