Singapore – After completing the testing of all foreign workers in dormitories, a new case was discovered in one location, leading to 800 workers being quarantined again. Members of the public said in unison that unless stricter measures and drastic changes were imposed, this occurrence would be an endless cycle.
On Tuesday (August 11), the Ministry of Manpower (MOM), the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board and the Health Promotion Board released a joint statement that new Covid-19 infections were discovered at foreign worker dormitories which had recently declared to be cleared from the virus.
Although they did not release the actual numbers then, the Ministry of Health (MOH) reported the following day that there was one confirmed case in a dormitory leading to 800 migrant workers being placed in quarantine once more. According to a straitstimes.com report, there are currently 22,800 workers, including the 800, still being quarantined, as disclosed by the Multi-Ministry Task Force for Covid-19.
MOH will be testing the workers when their quarantine period ends. Furthermore, foreign workers residing in dormitories and those who work onsite in the construction, marine and process sectors will be swab tested every 14 days. Safety control measures such as workers reporting their temperatures and any other symptoms indicating acute respiratory illness through an app twice a day are in place.
“With more daily movements in and out of the dormitories, it is even more important for everyone to remain vigilant to guard against new infections,” they added in the joint statement, hoping the intensive efforts spent since April to contain the outbreak in dormitories wouldn’t go to waste.
Meanwhile, members of the online community commented that there needs to be significant measures or changes implemented because reinfection is a vicious cycle. “The government needs to find a better solution asap to break this cycle which I am sure is stressing out the workers greatly,” said Facebook user Min Zheng.
Facebook user Jason Yeo, who is allegedly an employer, shared that he had written to MOM multiple times over the last few weeks to request for their foreign workers to be transferred from the dormitory to a private property for lease. “We are paying two rent for the dormitory and also the private housing. Most importantly, how can our workers not get exposed to Covid-19 when they are staying in a dormitory,” said the concerned employer who had not received a reply from MOM.
Others called for a change in strategy and suggested those who behave irresponsibly be seriously punished or mitigate the effects of mass spreading by breaking the foreign workers into smaller groups. Facebook user Mei Yin Ng provided a detailed suggestion of some possibilities to avoid history repeating itself.
Facebook user Chien Nelson also reminded everyone that healthcare and frontline workers are the ones taxed by the situation as they continue to handle dormitories, imported and local community cases.